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Full text of "American slavery and colour"

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AMEEICAK 



SLAVERY AND COLOUR 



BY WILLIAM CHAMBERS 

AUTHOR OF 'THINGS AS THEY ARE IN AMERICA' 



LONDON 

W. & R. CHAMBERS, PATERNOSTER ROW 

AND DIX AND EDWARDS, NEW YORK 

1857 



Edinburgh : 
rrinted by \V. and R. Chambers. 



The sight of a few Slave Sales lias a wonderful effect in 
awakening the feelings on the subject of Slavery. The 
thing is seen to he an undeniable reality — no mere invention 
of the novelist. From time to time, the spectacle of an 
auction-stand on which one man is selling another, flashes 
back upon the mind. For three years, I have been 
haunted by recollections of that saddening scene, and 
taken a gradually deepening interest in American Slavery 
— its present condition, its mysterious future. Having 
already referred to the subject, I should not again have 
intruded on public notice, but for the recent exciting 
discussions concerning Slavery, the protracted struggle 
in Kansas, and the probability of further contests between 
Slavery and Freedom, consequent on the organisation of 
new States in the southern section of the Union. 

The present volume, tracing the progress of Slavery, 
and presenting such other particulars as may afford a 
comprehensive view of the subject, is offered as a small 
contribution to a department of literature daily increasing 
in interest — an expression of sympathy from an unenrolled 
adherent of a great and sacred cause. 

W. C. 



Edinburgh, March 1857. 



AMERICAN 



SLAVERY AND COLOUR. 



SOUTHERN DEMONSTRATIONS. 

c Race ! Do not speak to us of race — we care nothing 
for breed or colour. What we contend for is, that 
slavery, whether of black or white, is a normal, a 
proper institution in society.' So proclaim southern 
writers in the United States. The principle of enslav- 
ing only coloured persons, descendants of imported 
Africans, is now antiquated, and a scheme which 
embraces slavery of every race and variety of com- 
plexion is at length put forward as a natural and 
desirable arrangement for all parties — a highly com- 
mendable state of things. Any one could have 
foreseen that it must come to this. The prodigious 
and irregular amalgamation of races in the south, with 
the deterioration and helplessness of the less- affluent 
class of whites in the slaveholding states, has, as 
may be supposed, led to a pretty nearly pure, nay, 
absolutely pure breed of white slaves. A new style 
of reasoning is consequently required. If slavery is 
to be at all vindicated, it must not now be on* the 
narrow basis of colour, but on the broad grounds, that 



2 AMERICAN SLAVERY AND COLOUR. 

there is an inherent right in the stronger and more 
wealthy classes to reduce the poorer, and, it may be, 
more ignorant orders to a state of perpetual bondage. 
The cool announcement of this extraordinary doctrine, 
from influential parties in a great thriving republic, 
strikes one with so much wonder, that we almost 
inquire if we have heard aright, or if we are really 
living in the second half of the nineteenth century. 

The most casual glance at the products of the 
southern press leaves no room for doubt on the 
subject. A few scraps cannot but be classed among 
the curiosities of modern literature. Mr Fitzhugh, a 
southern writer, says : ' We do not adopt the theory 
that Ham was the ancestor of the negro race. The 
Jewish slaves were not negroes, and to confine the 
justification of slavery to that of race, would be to 
weaken the Scriptural authority, and to lose the whole 
weight of profane authority ; for we read of no negro 
slavery in ancient times. Slavery, black or white, is 
right and necessary/ The Richmond Inquirer, an able 
Virginian paper, says : ' Until recently, the defence of 
slavery has laboured under great difficulties, because 
its apologists — for they were mere apologists — took 
half-way grounds. They confined the defence of 
slavery to mere negro slavery; thereby giving up the 
slavery principle, admitting other forms of slavery to 
be wrong. The line of defence is now changed. The 
south now maintains that slavery is right, natural, and 
necessary. While it is far more obvious that negroes 
should be slaves than whites — for they are only fit to 
labour, not to direct — yet the principle of slavery is 
itself right, and does not depend on difference of 
complexion.' 

Mr G. W. Weston, a writer in the cause of emanci- 
pation in the New York Tribune, observes : ' It is not 
true, in law or in fact, that the condition of slavery at 



SOUTHERN DEMONSTRATIONS. 3 

the south is confined to the African race. The prin- 
ciple of American slavery which distinguishes it from 
the slavery of patriarchal times, and from oriental 
slavery at this day, is, that where the mother is 
enslaved, the offspring follow the condition of the 
mother. The female slaves, exposed of necessity to 
the disorderly passions of the whites, are made the 
instruments through whom the Caucasian race is itself 
reduced to the condition of servitude. The blood of 
orators, statesmen, generals, and even presidents, flows 
in the veins of thousands who are bought and sold like 
mules and horses. The time is not distant when the 
genuine unmixed African will not be found at the 
south. He is already rare, although it is less than 
half a century since the prohibition of the foreign 
slave-trade/ Besides the source of whiteness above 
referred to, it is understood that numbers of purely 
Anglo-American children pass into slavery. In some 
instances, the indigent whites of the south sell their 
children to traders ; and the practice of kidnapping 
white children in the northern states, and transferring 
them southward, is said to be notoriously on the 
increase. We see it mentioned that, in the city of New 
York alone, as many as thirty children on an average 
are stolen yearly ; it being shrewdly guessed that many 
of them are carried to the markets of the south, where 
a good price for them can be readily obtained. If there 
be the slightest truth in the supposition that gently 
nurtured white infants are so abstracted from the 
homes of their parents, nothing could give a more 
forcible impression of the horrors entailed on American 
society by the tolerance of slavery within its bosom. 

It has been customary to blame England for having, 
in the first instance, introduced negro slavery into the 
States; but, admitting to its full extent her guilt in 
the slave-trade, we can hardly see how her doings 



4 AMERICAN SLAVERY xVND COLOUR. 

in this respect are to be consistently condemned, if 
American writers be sincere in thinking that slavery is 
a normal and absolutely necessary institution. From 
the sentiments lately avowed, it would appear that there 
can be no right condition of affairs without slaves. 
Free labour is spoken of as improper, and a thing that 
must end in national disaster. The only security is 
for every man who has the means to buy slaves, and 
get all his work done by them. A widely circulated 
newspaper — the New Orleans Delta — says : f We have 
a proposition to lay down that may appear startling 
to many because it is new, but will have weight and 
consideration with the thinking, inasmuch as it is 
based on both philosophy and experience. We there- 
fore declare that slavery is not only national in its 
origin, but it is essential to republican nationality. 
But for slavery, republicanism would have long since 
become a tale in these United States. It is among 
the slaveholding population that republicanism has 
had its true home and only defence. It is they who 
have made the Union what it is commercially and 
politically. It is only they who can hereafter main- 
tain a safe and honourable union, and enjoy rational 
liberty. History is instructive ; heed its teachings ; 
they are invariable and unerring. It tells us that 
a great republic never existed without slavery. It 
tells us that where partial and denned slavery did 
not exist of law, the mass of the working-people have 
been slaves, and worse than slaves. It tells us that 
wherever universal freedom has nominally existed, 
poverty, want, and possible famine, and humiliating 
dependency of the poor on the rich, have been the 
price of painted delusion. Slavery was an institution 
in all the ancient republics, but in two we have 
eminent examples. In Home, the mightiest in arms, 
and Athens, the most glorious in art of all the old 



SOUTHERN DEMONSTRATIONS. 5 

republics, slavery prevailed to a greater extent than 
in any state of the Union. In Athens, the proportion 
of slaves to freemen was about two to one — in Rome, 
scarcely less; and yet with this institution imbedded 
in their very hearts, they lived and flourished, century 
after century, and reached a magnificence and 
grandeur of which the history of modern free society 
affords no example. Modern free society, as at pre- 
sent organised, is radically wrong and rotten. It is 
self-destroying, and can never exist happily and 
normally until it is qualified by the introduction of 
some principle equivalent in effect to the institution of 
negro slavery. In the northern states, free society has 
proved a failure. It is rotten to the core. Let the 
dominion which its putrescence has engendered suc- 
ceed, and society, with its most sacred sanctions and 
its holiest institutions, will fall before it, both in the 
north and south, and the country must become the 
seat of howling anarchy or iron despotism. Negro 
slavery, then, is the conservative element of republic- 
anism, and the firmest basis of society in these 
United States. Such being the social and political 
value of slavery, its diffusion and extension are of the 
first importance, and nothing at the present time 
should more nearly interest the wise philanthropist 
and the patriotic statesman, than to devise measures 
to effect these objects — to restore slavery to its 
original national character, and make it an object of 
political solicitude.' 

These notions are far from singular. By several 
writers, freedom is spoken of with coarse contempt. 
' Free society ! ' says the Muscogee Herald, an Alabama 
newspaper. ( We sicken at the name. What is it but 
a conglomeration of greasy mechanics, filthy operatives, 
small-fisted farmers, and moon-struck theorists? All 
the northern, and especially the New England States, 



6 AMERICAN SLAVERY AND COLOUR. 

are devoid of society fitted for well-bred gentlemen. 
The prevailing class one meets with is that of 
mechanics struggling to be genteel, and small farmers 
who do their own drudgery, and yet who are hardly 
fit for association with a southern gentleman's body- 
servant. This is your free society, which the northern 
hordes are endeavouring to extend into Kansas.' 
It would be unjust to lay too much stress on the 
grotesque ravings of an obscure print, did they not 
find an echo in the Richmond Inquirer, a paper which, 
as already hinted, is conducted with no mean ability. 
' Repeatedly,' says its editor, ' have we asked the 
north — Has not the experiment of universal liberty 
failed ? Are not the evils of free society insufferable ? 
and do not most thinking men among you propose 
to subvert and reconstruct it ? Still no answer. 
This gloomy silence is another conclusive proof, added 
to many other conclusive evidences we have furnished, 
that free society in the long-run is an impracticable 
form of society ; it is everywhere starving, demoralised, 
and insurrectionary. We repeat, then, that policy 
and humanity alike forbid the extension of the evils 
of free society to new people and coming generations. 
Two opposite and conflicting forms of society cannot, 
among civilised men, co-exist and endure. The one 
must give way, and cease to exist; the other become 
universal. If free society be unnatural, immoral, 
unchristian, it must fall, and give way to slave society 
— a social system, old as the world, universal as man.' 
It would seem that the measure of public liberty 
which Washington fought for and achieved, is a 
blunder; and that for the much-venerated free insti- 
tutions of the States, must be substituted the mixture 
of aristocracy and helotism of the ancient world. 

Another Virginian print, the Richmond Examiner, 
about two years ago came out with a flat contradiction 



SOUTHERN DEMONSTRATIONS. 7 

of there being any longer a desire to see the country 
clear of slavery. f It is all a hallucination to suppose 
that we are ever going to get rid of African slavery, 
or that it will ever be desirable to do so. It is a thing 
that we cannot do without — that is righteous, 'profitable, 
and permanent, and that belongs to southern society 
as inherently, intricately, and durably as the white 
race itself. Yea, the white race will itself emigrate 
from the southern states to Africa, California, or 
Polynesia, sooner than the African. Let us make up 
our minds, therefore, to put up with and make the 
most of the institution. Let us not bother our brains 
about what Providence intends to do with our negroes 
in the distant future, but glory in and profit to the 
utmost by what He has done for them in trans- 
planting them here and setting them to work on our 
plantations. Let the politicians and planters of the 
south, while encouraging the " Baptists and Methodists" 
- — and other denominations having a less number 
of votes — in Christianising the negro, keep their 
slaves at hard work, under strict discipline, out of 
idleness and mischief, while they live ; and when they 
come to die, instead of sending them off to Africa, or 
manumitting them to a life of u freedom," licentious- 
ness, and nuisance, will them over to their children, or 
direct them to be sold where they will be made to 
work hard, and be of service to their masters and to 
the country. True philanthropy to the negro begins, 
like charity, at home; and if southern men would 
act as if the canopy of heaven were inscribed with a 
covenant, in letters of fire, that the negro is here, and 
here for ever ; is our property, and ours for ever ; is 
never to be emancipated ; is to be kept hard at ivork, 
and in rigid subjection all his days ; and is never to go 
to Africa, to Polynesia, or to Yankee Land — far worse 
than either — they would accomplish more good for the 



8 AMERICAN SLAVERY AND COLOUR. 

race in five years than they boast the institution itself 
to have accomplished in two centuries, and cut up by 
the roots a set of evils and fallacies that threaten to 
drive the white race a- wandering in the western 
wilderness, sooner than Cuffee will go to preach the 
gospel in Guinea.' 

We should imagine that to most of our readers 
these sentiments will come with startling novelty. 
While the philanthropists of England are contriving all 
kinds of meliorations in social economy, they do not 
appear to be aware that in the progress of events 
beyond the Atlantic, views have arisen respecting the 
slave question which are altogether obstructive of 
popular freedom, and calculated to reduce every 
unprotected labourer to the condition of a chattel. 
' We have/ says the South-side Democrat, a Virginian 
contemporary of the Inquirer — ' we have got to hating 
everything with the prefix free, from free negroes down 
and up through the whole catalogue — free farms, free 
labour, free society, free will, free thinking, free 
children, and free schools. But the worst of all these 
abominations is the modern system of free schools.' 
The only relief can arise from a return to that blessed 
state in which the bulk of the population shall be 
kept in ignorance and servitude under a strong-handed 
minority — there is, it is alleged, no other means to 
assuage the poverty incidental to universal competition. 
All who are unable to maintain their families in 
decency, had better be at once sold to those who are 
disposed to take charge of them. ' Sell the parents 
of these children into slavery. Let our legislature 
(continues the authority just quoted) pass a law, that 
whoever will take these parents, and take care of them 
and their offspring, in sickness and in health, clothe 
them, feed them, and house them, shall be legally 
entitled to their services; and let the same legislature 



SOUTHERN DEMONSTRATIONS. 9 

decree, that whoever receives these parents and their 
children, and obtains their services, shall take care of 
them as long as they live/ We infer from all that is 
told of the condition of the impoverished ' white trash ' 
in the southern states, that the legislative measures 
here pointed at would present a natural and not 
unlikely solution of a somewhat puzzling question. 
Sanguine as are our expectations of social advancement, 
under prudent safeguards, who can tell that at least a 
section of a great nation may not, even in our times, 
return to the almost forgotten usages of medieval 
Europe. The world is after all, perhaps, not so vastly 
improved as one would be inclined to think. 

Unlike the serfdom of the middle ages, when war 
and famine carried off no small share of the redundant 
population, southern slavery cannot be successfully 
maintained unless means be found for employing the 
increase on adjoining lands, or disposing of it for 
transit to distant settlements. The pressing necessity 
for extending limited properties into large possessions, 
is stated to be operating on a gigantic scale in 
Alabama. The Hon. C. C. Clay, Jun., on lately 
addressing a Horticultural Society in that great cotton- 
growing state, laments the absorption of small properties. 
' Our wealthier planters,' he observes, { with greater 
means, and no more skill, are buying out their poorer 
neighbours, extending their plantations, and adding 
to their slave force. Of the 20,000,000 of dollars 
annually realised from the sales of cotton crop of 
Alabama, nearly all not expended in supporting the 
producers is reinvested in land and negroes. Thus, 
the white population has decreased, and the slave 
increased, almost pari passu in several counties in our 
state. In 1825, Madison county cast about 3000 
votes ; now she cannot exceed 2300. In traversing 
that county, one will discover numerous farmhouses, 



10 AMERICAN SLAVERY AND COLOUR. 

once the abode of industrious and intelligent freemen, 
now occupied by slaves, or tenantless, deserted, and 
dilapidated ; be will observe fields once fertile, now 
unfenced, abandoned; he will see the moss growing 
on the mouldering walls of once thrifty villages, and 
will find "one only master grasps the whole domain," 
that once furnished happy homes for a dozen white 
families.' To this dismal description, that respectable 
authority, Olmsted, says that the political experiment 
of Old Virginia, the Carolinas, and Georgia, is being 
repeated to the same fatal result in Young Alabama. 

The generally blighting influence of slavery is 
clearly a main cause of its extension. To exist at all, 
it must push into new regions, everywhere exhaust- 
ing lands, extinguishing freedom, and dishonouring 
independent rural industry. Pursued by a fearful 
Nemesis, the slave-power still seeks for more and 
more scope for its devastating encroachments. An 
amount of labour far beyond the bounds of internal 
supply is in demand. If the great west is to be added 
piecemeal to the slave states of the Union, the breed- 
ing establishments of Virginia will fail to furnish stock 
except at exorbitant prices. Nothing, accordingly, 
remains but a legalised revival of the slave-traffic from 
the coast of Africa, or the legal extension of slavery to 
the poorer classes of the white population. We have 
seen what is said of the latter expedient ; and a desire 
to supply the labour-market by the former odious 
means, is likewise expressed in no reserved terms. The 
New Orleans Delta says, on a late occasion, { We not 
only desire to make territories, now free, slave terri- 
tories, and to acquire new territory into which to 
extend slavery — such as Cuba, North-eastern Mexico, 
&c. — but we would reopen the African slave-trade, that 
every white man might have a chance to make himself 
owner of one or more negroes, and go with them and 



SOUTHERN DEMONSTRATIONS. 11 

their household gods wherever opportunity beckoned 
to enterprise. But the North would never consent 
to this; they would dissolve the Union rather than 
grant it, say the croaking impracticables. Gentlemen, 
you do not know the North, oracular as you look when 
dubiously shaking your heads. It would not oppose 
any more bitterly a large demand like this, boldly 
made, than the smallest one, faintly and politely urged. 
Try it. There is nothing to lose by the experiment. 
At all events, if the attempt to reopen this trade 
should fail, it would give one more proof of how 
injurious our connection with the North has become 
to us, and would indicate one more signal advantage 
which a southern confederacy would have over the 
present heterogeneous association called the Union.' 
How the North has deserved that cut ! The advant- 
ages of a revived African slave-trade were argumenta- 
tively pointed out by the Charleston Standard so 
recently as last October. c From first to last, there 
has been a constant want of labour. Three millions 
of our people have perhaps as many slaves as they 
naturally require ; but there are three millions more 
who are unsupplied. They would take slaves if they 
could get them ; but they are not to be had at prices 
which will enable them to be used in competition 
with the free labour of the world. All we have are 
wanted for agriculture, and even these are not enough. 
While all are employed, and employed most profitably, 
lands all over the country are parched and unprofitable, 
for the want of labour, and millions more could have 
been absorbed. The labour of those brought one year, 
would have paid for those to be brought the next; as 
employments opened, white men of enterprise would 
have come in more abundance than they have done ; 
the stream of labour from Africa would have met a 
stream of enterprise from Europe ; both would have 



12 AMERICAN SLAVERY AND COLOUR. 

poured in together ; the population of the southern 
states would have been more dense; the population 
of the northern states would have been more sparse ; 
Georgia would have been to New York as New York 
is now to Georgia; other states from Texas and New 
Mexico would have been brought in ; and thus, if the 
slave states had held on to the sources of their real 

power, the South would have been the Union 

There is now buried under every acre of land in South 
Carolina at least fifty dollars in gold; and the day 
that the savage African is landed on our shores to 
cultivate it, that gold will glitter on its surface.' 

It will not be imagined that these wild opinions 
meet with universal response in the South, where, 
indeed, many planters above the ordinary standard 
are conscious of the evils of slavery, and would gladly 
listen to any reasonable plan for relieving themselves 
of their coloured dependents. Least of all do such 
notions meet with approval in the North. But it is 
not less certain that, from causes not far to seek, a 
new tone of sentiment has begun to prevail among the 
general slaveholding interest. What was long lamented 
and reluctantly endured, is now resolutely maintained, 
and arguments are found to vindicate its indefinite 
extension. A high civil functionary, Mr Adams, 
governor of South Carolina, in his late message to 
the legislature of that state, goes quite as far a length 
as any of the newspapers above quoted. Referring 
to the pressure against slavery, he speaks of the 
necessity for prompt measures to fortify and extend it. 
He recommends the passage of a law exempting from 
legal seizure and sale, at least one slave; so that every 
family of whites may be stimulated to possess pro- 
perty 'in some degree above the casualties of debt/ 
Referring to the increasing demand for slaves to 
cultivate cotton, he sees no other means for retaining 



SOUTHERN DEMONSTRATIONS. 13 

a monopoly in producing that article, than the import- 
ation of slaves. Cheap labour must be obtained, and 
this can be done only in one way — by reopening the 
African slave-trade. What followed, we give in Mr 
Adams's own words : 

1 Until Providence interposes and changes his organ- 
ism, the African must continue to be a " hewer of wood 
and drawer of water." It is a diseased sentimentality 
which starts back at the idea of legalising the slave- 
trade, and, at the same time, contemplates without 
emotion the cruel servitude which capital exacts of 
labour, all the world over. There was a time when 
canting philanthropists had instilled into us a belief 
that slavery was wrong. Investigation has entirely 
changed the once common sentiment on this point. 
The South now believes that a mysterious Providence 
has brought the two races together on this continent 
for wise purposes, and that the existing relation has 
been mutually beneficial. Southern slavery has elevated 
the African to a degree of civilisation which the black 
race has never attained in any other age or country. 
" We see it now in its true light, and regard it as the 
most safe and stable basis for free institutions in the 
world." Had the slave-trade never been closed, the 
equilibrium between the North and the South would 
not have been destroyed. The North has had the Old 
World from which to draw her supply of labour, and 
hence the rapid settlement of the north-west. Since 
1808, the South has supplied her own labour, and 
has necessarily made slower progress in settling up 
the south-west. If the trade were open now, I am 
persuaded that the South would not consent to close 
it; and this is perhaps the best answer to the argu- 
ment derived from the mere sentiment that is arrayed 
against the proposition. It is apprehended that the 
opening of this trade will lessen the value of slaves, 



14 AMERICAN SLAVERY AND COLOUR. 

and ultimately destroy the institution. It is a suffi- 
cient answer to point to the fact, that unrestricted 
immigration has not diminished the value of labour 
in the north-western section of the confederacy. 
The cry there is, want of labour, notwithstanding 
capital has the pauperism of the Old World to press 
into its grinding service. If we cannot supply the 
demand for slave-labour, then we must expect to be 
supplied with a species of labour we do not want, and 
which is, from the very nature of things, antagonistic 
to our institutions. In all slaveholding states, true 
policy dictates that the superior race should direct, and 
the inferior perform all menial service. Competition 
between the white and black man for this service may 
not disturb northern sensibility, but it does not exactly 
suit our latitude. Irrespective, however, of interest, 
the act of congress declaring the slave-trade piracy, is 
a brand upon us which I think it important to remove. 
If the trade be piracy, the slave must be plunder ; and 
no ingenuity can avoid the logical necessity of such 
conclusion. My hopes and fortunes are indissolubly 
associated with this form of society. I feel that I would 
be wanting in duty if I did not urge you to withdraw 
your assent to an act which is itself a direct condem- 
nation of our institutions. But we have interests to 
enforce a course of self-respect. I believe, as I have 
already stated, that more slaves are necessary to a 
continuance of our monopoly in plantation products. I 
believe that they are necessary to the full development 
of our whole round of agricultural and mechanical 
resources ; that they are necessary to the restoration 
of the South to an equality of power in the general 
government, perhaps to the very integrity of slave 
society, disturbed as it has been by causes which have 
induced an undue proportion of the ruling race. To 
us have been committed the fortunes of this peculiar 



SOUTHERN DEMONSTRATIONS. 15 

form of society resulting from tlie union of unequal 
races. It has vindicated its claim to the approbation 
of an enlightened humanity. It has civilised and 
Christianised the African. It has exalted the white 
race itself to higher hopes and purposes, and it is 
perhaps of the most sacred obligation that we should 
give it the means of expansion, and that we should press 
it forward to a perpetuity of progress.' 

In making the foregoing propositions to revive the 
foreign slave-trade, the more eager spirits of the South 
do not appear to have sufficiently considered the politi- 
cal difficulties which were presented to a measure of 
that kind. The North, little as it is to be respected for 
its general lethargy, would not tolerate so gross an out- 
rage, and it is almost unnecessary to say, that the bare 
attempt to legalise the importation of slaves, would pro- 
duce a rupture with England and other European powers, 
which might end in a speedy solution of the whole 
question of slavery and colour. The federal authorities 
hastened to repudiate the sentiments of the extreme 
southern party. Shortly after the meeting of congress, 
a resolution was brought into the House of Eepresenta- 
tives, December 15, 1856, repelling the notion of opening 
the slave-trade, and it was carried by a majority 
of 152 to 57. Immediately afterwards, a resolution 
was introduced, declaring it to be inexpedient, unwise, 
and contrary to the settled policy of the United 
States, to repeal the laws against the slave-trade ; and 
this expression of feeling was carried by a majority 
of 183 to 8. To think it was necessary at this time 
of day, for the representatives of a great nation to 
make these avowals ! The motive for doing so, how- 
ever, is alleged to have been less a regard for the 
outraged opinion of Christendom, than a desire to 
discountenance a project for lowering the value of slave- 
property, which would be an inevitable consequence 



16 AMERICAN SLAVERY AND COLOUR. 

of large importations of blacks from the coast of 
Africa. Whatever truth may be in this supposition, 
surely all except a few indiscreet persons must have 
felt that southern demonstrations had gone a little too 
fast — -and too far. 



SLAVERY AT THE REVOLUTION — ACQUISITION 

OE LOUISIANA. 

In the dashing times which, produced the Declaration 
of Independence,, and opened up the most glowing 
anticipations of a political millennium, in which we 
were to ' hold these truths as self-evident, that all men 
are created equal — that they are endowed by their 
Creator with certain inalienable rights — that among 
these are life, Liberty, and the pursuit of happiness ' 
— we say, in the midst of these announcements of a 
brighter day for hitherto down-trodden human nature, 
and of what was actually done towards founding a 
great republic, who could have foreseen that in eighty 
years the result would be a state of things in which a 
sixth part of the population would be slaves — human 
beings of every variety of complexion and diversity of 
intelligence, placed, from no fault of their own, on a 
level with the brute creation; and further, that this 
sorrowful and abject condition would come to be 
extended, perpetuated, vindicated as an essential 
element in civil society ! The world, as it appears to 
us, has hardly awakened to a consciousness of this 
historical anomaly ; and this is not surprising, for the 
Americans themselves are as yet only beginning to 
see the awkwardness of the dilemma into which they 
have allowed themselves to be drifted. 

It was from no qualm of conscience on the part of 
the committee appointed to draw up the Declaration — 
Jefferson, Adams, Livingston, Sherman, and Franklin 
— that the passages relative to slavery were struck 
out from the celebrated document. f He [the king of 

B 



18 AMERICAN SLAVERY AND COLOUR. 

Great Britain] has waged cruel war against human 
nature itself, violating its most sacred rights of life and 
liberty in the persons of a distant people, who never 
offended him, captivating and carrying them into 
slavery in another hemisphere, or to incur a miserable 
death in their transportation thither. This piratical 
warfare, the opprobrium of infidel powers, is the 
warfare of the Christian king of Great Britain. 
Determined to keep open market where men should 
be bought and sold, he has prostituted his negative 
for suppressing every legislative attempt to prohibit 
or to restrain this execrable commerce/ * &c. It 
was quite as well that these ungentle accusations 
should have been withdrawn, in consideration, as is 
said, for the feelings of southern members of the 
infant confederacy ; that so there might remain no 
historical doubt of the fact, that Union was secured 
only by conciliating the more intractable order of 
slaveholders. Whatever, therefore, may be our surprise 
at the present anomalous complication of American 
liberty and slavery, the marvel would seem to be 
lessened by the explanation, that from the very com- 
mencement, on that memorable 4th of July 1776, when 
the Declaration of Independence was signed in the 
city-hall, Philadelphia, there never has been a condi- 
tion of universal freedom. The Declaration, doubtless, 
propounded the doctrine of human equality; but this 
document never seems to have had the validity of law. 
At all events, as regards the principle of slavery, the 
lofty preamble of the Declaration about ' inalienable 
rights' has proved to be only a respectable piece of 

* The first draught of the Declaration of Independence, embracing these 
erased passages, is shewn in the rooms of the American Philosophical Society 
in Philadelphia, an institution founded by Franklin. It was the greatest 
archaeological curiosity (if such a term be allowable) which the present 
writer saw in the United States. 



SLAVERY AT THE REVOLUTION. 19 

Bunkum — words which serve their purpose, and signify 
nothing. 

At the opening of the revolutionary war, there were 
slaves in all the revolted colonies ; even in Massa- 
chusetts, the land of the ' Pilgrim Fathers,' there were 
slaves, and sales of slaves too; though it is proper to 
add, that Massachusetts was the first to set the example 
of passing an act for general emancipation. 

England, of course, must be charged with the crime 
of having introduced, in the first instance, the Africans 
as an article of merchandise into the plantations, 
against the repeatedly expressed wishes of the settlers, 
and of having fostered slavery till it took root as a 
social usage. Lawyers might now speculate on the 
question — whether, at the period of the revolutionary 
troubles, slaves could be legally held in the colonies ? 
A short time previously, it had been decided by courts 
of justice, that a slave landing in England became free; 
and as the common law was extended over all parts of 
the realm, it is demonstrable that the maintenance of 
slavery in distant dependencies was, to say the least of 
it, open to challenge. The question was not, however, 
tried ; and, as is well known, a vigorous English slave- 
trade was carried on for many years afterwards with 
the West Indies and other possessions — much to the 
profit of Liverpool and Bristol, and apparently to the 
satisfaction or indifference of all, except the few indivi- 
duals who deigned to feel an interest in the unhappy 
objects of ruthless deportation — which individuals, as 
is usual in such cases, were set down as visionaries, 
crack-brained enthusiasts, who had no proper regard 
for national greatness. When the House of Commons 
was at length induced, in 1792, to pass a bill for the 
suppression of the slave-trade, it was rejected by the 
House of Lords, on the ground of its damaging effects 
upon great commercial and colonial interests. As the 



20 AMERICAN SLAVERY AND COLOUR. 

famous abolition act did not pass till 1807, and the 
trade did not absolutely cease till the 1st of January 
1808 — as, in fact, slaves were held in the colonies until 
our own times — and, what is still more to the point, 
as our continued national prosperity depends in no 
small degree on the purchase and manufacture of 
slave-grown cotton — the English have not much reason 
to be boastful on the subject. 

For several years after the termination of the 
revolutionary war — 1784 to 1789 — the Americans had 
no proper federal constitution, and public matters were 
regulated during this interregnum by what was called 
the Continental Congress, sitting in Philadelphia or 
New York. To have anything like a correct notion 
of the American slave question, we need to look 
back to the operations of this august body. One 
of the subjects that fell under its discussion, was 
the management of certain western territories which 
several states relinquished for the benefit of the general 
commonwealth, in consideration that congress should 
liquidate debts and obligations incurred by these states 
during the war. The cessions were made on these 
terms; and congress henceforth exercised a direct 
sovereignty over large tracts of country, from which 
new states could be excavated. Plans for the govern- 
ment of the Western Territory occupied considerable 
attention ; Mr Jefferson apparently taking a lead in 
the business, and producing schemes by which slavery 
was never to be intruded into this vast region. A 
proposal of this nature was lost on coming to a vote ; 
but at length, in 1787, in the last continental congress, 
was passed an ' Ordinance for the Government of the 
Territory of the United States, North-west of the Ohio/ 
which embraced this provision : ' There shall be neither 
slavery nor involuntary servitude in the said territory, 
otherwise than in punishment of crimes, whereof the 



SLAVERY AT THE REVOLUTION. 21 

parties shall be duly convicted/ The enactment of 
this law, which will afterwards come frequently under 
notice, would seem to settle the point, that congress 
is entitled, among other regulations, to enjoin that 
slavery shall or shall not be a constituent element in 
the Territories under its special jurisdiction; yet no 
constitutional question has produced such angry 
discussion. 

The circumstance of Jefferson not being able to 
carry his larger measure, which comprehended terri- 
tories south of those just mentioned, shews that the 
leading men of the time were cramped in their bene- 
volent efforts to extend the sphere of freedom. They 
were thoroughly aware that slavery in any form, or 
wherever situated, was a bad thing; and on suitable 
occasions, they spoke plainly out on the subject. Not 
disguising the fact from themselves or from others, 
they nevertheless thought proper to temporise. Be- 
lieving that any attempt at emancipation through 
federal agency would probably alienate slaveholders, 
and so jeopardise the consolidation of the States, they 
were inclined to leave the subject to the action of 
public opinion, of which there were hopeful symptoms. 
As early as 1775, the representatives of a district in 
Georgia passed a resolution, declaring their disappro- 
bation and abhorrence of the unnatural practice of 
slavery in America — f a practice,' they say, f founded 
on injustice and cruelty, and highly dangerous to our 
liberties, as well as lives ; debasing part of our fellow- 
creatures below men, and corrupting the virtue and 
morals of the rest; and as laying the basis of that 
liberty we contend for on a wrong foundation/ Other 
anti-slavery sentiments shine out during the ensuing 
ten years. Massachusetts, as has been said, took the 
lead in emancipation ; other New-England States, and 
also Pennsylvania, denounce slavery, provide for 



22 AMERICAN SLAVERY AND COLOUR. 

securing freedom to all born after a certain day, and 
prohibit the import of any more slaves. Virginia 
likewise prohibits importation, and removes legal 
restrictions on emancipation. From North Carolina, 
New York, and New Jersey, are issued edicts against 
the further import of slaves. In short, it appears as 
if slavery was everywhere about to be given up, and 
done with. Some expectations of this kind, along 
with an anxiety to conciliate doubtful friends, afford 
the only excuse for the perpetuation of slavery under 
the constitution. With a distinct consciousness of 
its injustice, its dangers, slavery was recognised under 
ambiguous terms — singular anomaly ! — in the great 
charter of republican freedom. It was competent to 
repudiate it ; it was advisable to maintain a discreet 
silence respecting it. Neither was done. Here lies 
the first great blunder of American statesmanship, 
never to be rectified. The constitution was framed 
in 1787, and was in general operation in 1789. 

This constitution, which still gives cohesion to the 
States under a federal government, is an instrument 
divided into articles, each subdivided into clauses. 
The passages referring to slavery are as follows : In 
the second clause of the first article there is a pro- 
vision for representation and taxation — ' Representa- 
tives and direct taxes shall be apportioned among 
the several states which may be included within this 
Union, according to their respective numbers, which 
shall be determined by adding to the whole number 
of free persons, including those bound to servitude 
for a term of years, and excluding Indians not taxed, 
three-fifths of all other persons.' By e all other persons ' 
is signified slaves. Accordingly, in whatever state 
slavery exists, there is till this day a statutory method 
of making up an artificial constituency : in other 
words, the number is swelled by counting slaves; but 



SLAVERY AT THE REVOLUTION. 23 

as the slaves have no vote, it happens that a limited 
constituency of free white persons possess a political 
power equal to that of a constituency altogether free. 
That so acute a people as the Americans should have 
accepted this as a fair thing in representation, and 
still submit to it, almost passes belief. To proceed, 
however. The next reference to slavery in the con- 
stitution is contained in another clause of the first 
article — c The migration or importation of such persons 
as any of the states now existing shall think proper to 
admit, shall not be prohibited by the congress prior 
to the year 1808; but a tax or duty may be imposed, 
not exceeding ten dollars on each person/ By one of 
the clauses of the fourth article, it is ordained that 
' No person held to service or labour in one state under 
the laws thereof, escaping into another, shall in conse- 
quence of any law or regulation therein be discharged 
from such service or labour, but shall be delivered 
up on claim of the party to whom such labour may 
be due.' 

Other clauses have a remote bearing on slavery. 
It is ordained, that ? congress shall have power to 
suppress insurrections,' and quell c domestic violence ; * 
consequently, a rebellion of slaves may be suppressed 
with the whole force that the federal government can 
bring against it. According to another clause, c con- 
gress shall have power to dispose of, and make all 
needful rules and regulations respecting the territory 
or other property belonging to the United States.' 
How this privilege has been tortured to infer the right 
of granting permission to extend slavery over new 
territories, will soon appear. 

The use of such ambiguous phraseology in the 
constitution, as ' persons held to labour/ leads one to 
infer that the fathers of the constitution were ashamed 
of the thing indicated. In the face of mankind, and 



24 AMERICAN SLAVERY AND COLOUR. 

fresh from a successful struggle for liberty, they do 
not appear to have had the courage to employ a candid 
phraseology. Be this as it may, the constitution had 
taken its ground in maintaining the rights of slave- 
holders. They could hold persons to service/ pursue 
and secure them if they fled ; and at least until 1808, 
they could migrate with them to new possessions, and 
receive fresh supplies by importation. 

Possibly, the national conscience felt no alarm in 
adopting these legal institutes. All were jubilant over 
late successes. A mighty power three thousand miles 
off had been humbled; f glory,' as Emerson says, had 
been ( bought cheap.' The new republic could afford 
to lecture England — which, we are thankful, has 
always been able to stand a good deal of sound scolding 
— on the doctrine of inherent human rights. In the 
address of the first congress under the constitution, to 
the people of Great Britain, what grandeur in the 
passages about liberty, oppression, slavery, and chains. 
' When a nation, led to greatness by the hand of 
liberty, and possessed of all the glory that heroism, 
munificence, and humanity can bestow, descends to the 
ungrateful task of forging chains for her friends and 
children, and instead of giving support to freedom, 
turns advocate for slavery and oppression, there is 
reason to believe that she has ceased to be virtuous, or 
has been extremely negligent in the appointment of 
her rulers.' With such remonstrances against wrong- 
doing, which seem as if addressed to the living genera- 
tion of Americans, who could suppose that this same 
congress required to be reminded that a section of 
the population was still deprived of its rights ? As 
president of the Abolition Society of Philadelphia, 
Franklin signed a memorial to the first congress, 
praying that the blessings of liberty may be rightfully 
administered, ( without distinction of colour/ and that 



SLAVERY AT THE REVOLUTION. 25 

congress would be pleased to countenance the restora- 
tion to liberty of those unhappy men, who alone in a 
land of freedom are degraded into perpetual bondage.' 
We all admire the philanthropy breathed in these 
words; but are unpleasantly reminded that Franklin, 
with his compatriots, would perhaps have acted more 
wisely in not constitutionally sanctioning a thing 
which required afterwards to be spoken of in terms of 
reprobation. 

Let us, however, not bear too hard on the first 
congress, which in 1789 set a worthy example for 
future legislation. If the constitution had given 
congress no power to meddle with slavery in any of 
the states, it had at least enabled it to regulate the 
affairs of the territories, from which, both by law and 
precedent, slavery could be peremptorily excluded. 
This congress accordingly ( recognised and affirmed the 
doctrine, embodied by Jefferson in the ordinance of 
1787, which for ever excluded slavery from the terri- 
tory that now embraces Ohio, Indiana, and Illinois 
[also Iowa and Wisconsin] ; and in 1800, the same 
doctrine was approved by John Adams in the Territorial 
Act for Indiana/ * 

Kept as yet within bounds, and no means being 
immediately adopted to push slavery beyond certain 
old limits, the number of f persons held to labour ' in 
the United States, in 1790, was only 697,897; and as 
their average market- value was then comparatively 
small, there could have been no insurmountable 
difficulty in providing means for their liberation on 
equitable terms. But no effort of this kind required 
to be made. The progress of local emancipation which 
was clearing slavery from the northern, would soon 

* America Free, or America Slave — Address to the Citizens of 
Westchester. By John Jay, Esq. 



26 AMERICAN SLAVERY AND COLOUR. 

remove it from the middle states; and all that the 
legislators of the day were called on to do was to 
adopt such measures as would prevent slavery from 
extending and intrenching itself permanently in the 
south. Neglectful on this point, all was lost. 

Engaged in the task of establishing a great nation — 
building cities, reclaiming wildernesses, opening up 
channels of internal communication, extending com- 
merce, planting churches, schools, printing-presses, and 
other engines of civilisation; successful in almost all 
arts, and flourishing beyond the hopes of the wildest 
imagination — the Americans never seem to have 
attained a clear consciousness that there was any 
lurking possibility of social dislocation in consequence 
of slavery being tolerated within their political system. 
Not that there has not always been a party who 
augured danger from this quarter; but in the main, 
things have been left to take their course; or more 
correctly, the nation has, with singular indifference, 
seen a series of events successively and more and more 
hopelessly interweave slavery with the constitution. 

It was, we believe, a crotchet of Washington 
that the federal capital of the United States should 
be a city removed from popular influences — as if 
there was any imaginable Olympus from which the 
pleasant constitutional practice of Lobbying could by 
any stratagem be excluded. New York would not do. 
Philadelphia — more the pity — would not do. There 
must be a metropolis standing alone in virtuous 
solitude, somewhere about the centre of the .Union. 
Accordingly, a site was pitched upon, on the banks of 
the Potomac, the contiguous states of Virginia and 
Maryland severally resigning a patch of a few miles 
square for the purpose, henceforth called the District 
of Columbia. "When Washington here planned and 
built the city^ which bears his name, he could not have 



SLAVERY AT THE REVOLUTION. 27 

had any great horror of slavery, although he would 
much rather there had been no such thing in the 
world. Virginia and Maryland were then, as now, 
slave states. Slavery accordingly remained in the 
District of Columbia, as if indigenous in the soil ; and 
from this time the supreme authorities of the United 
States became the civic magistracy of a kind of minia- 
ture independent state, in which slavery was a recog- 
nised institution. It could be shewn that this plantation 
of a political metropolis in the bosom of slavery did 
much disservice to the cause of freedom — the sight 
of slaves, slave- depots, slave-sales, and the looseness 
of morals usual in communities affected by slavery, 
producing no good effect on representatives from 
the free states. It might be argued that, as Columbia 
was surrounded by slave states, freedom within this 
small domain was impracticable. That, however, is 
not the question. The thing to be deprecated was, 
making federal authority responsible for an institution 
which American writers never cease to represent as 
belonging exclusively to the states in their individual 
capacity. If any one up till this time imagined that 
slavery was independent of national administration, 
his faith, we think, must have received a considerable 
shock. There were remonstrances, but they sunk and 
disappeared under a general acquiescence. 

We are now referring to the close of the last and 
beginning of the present century, and shortly after- 
wards came an event far more serious than the organ- 
isation of the capital of the Union. This was a vast 
accession of new territory on the south and west. 
Left to themselves, with a wide continent invitingly 
open for acquisition, the Anglo-Americans only seemed 
to fulfil an obvious destiny in carrying their flag 
beyond the limits of the colonies which had been reft 
from the British crown. A favourable opportunity 



28 AMERICAN SLAVERY AND COLOUR. 

for making a large acquisition occurred in 1803, when 
the French under Bonaparte offered to sell the province 
of Louisiana, which embraced the whole of the west 
bank of the Mississippi. A little better management 
on the part of England would perhaps have saved the 
French the trouble of bargaining away this valuable 
foreign possession, which they could no longer keep; 
but as Louisiana was not so secured, it fell naturally, 
and we must say justifiably, into the hands of the 
Americans. The purchase, which was made for the 
sum of fifteen millions of dollars, excited the first of 
that series of struggles in congress between North and 
South, which has lasted till our own times. The 
country acquired, was already settled in its lower part 
with French slaveholders engaged in the culture of 
sugar and cotton, and covered an area of about 900,000 
square miles — a space larger than all the old thirteen 
states put together, and including the territories of 
Missouri, Kansas, and Nebraska, which have latterly 
engaged so much angry disputation, and caused no 
little bloodshed. 

On the one hand, it was scarcely in human nature 
to resist the easy acquisition of so splendid a domain ; 
on the other, there were not unreasonable fears among 
northern politicians that the addition would in some 
way imperil the security of the Union. Prognostica- 
tions of disaster, remonstrances, legal doubts, availed 
not against the controlling desire for national greatness. 
It mattered not that Washington, in his farewell 
address to the people of the United States, had uttered 
the solemn warning — ' Let there be no change from 
usurpation.' It mattered not that Jefferson, at the 
time president, shewed argumentatively that f the 
constitution has made no provision for our holding 
foreign territory, still less for our incorporating foreign 
nations into our Union/ and intimated that the 



ACQUISITION OF LOUISIANA. 29 

acquisition of Louisiana ■ would make the constitution 
blank paper by construction/ Against his better 
judgment, Jefferson acquiesced in the opinions of those 
who differed from him, and passed the bill which 
incorporated Louisiana with the Union. No provision 
was made for excluding slavery from the ceded terri- 
tory : the inhabitants, on the contrary, were insured 
the enjoyment of all their existing property, rights, 
and privileges ; and as the holding of slaves was one 
of these immunities, it continued, as a matter of course, 
to be incorporated with the public policy. 

The passage of the Louisiana Bill has been justly 
referred to as the turning-point in the history of the 
United States. It at once reduced the northern 
and free communities to an inferior political position, 
and gave an immense preponderance to the slaveholding 
interests of the south. In accounting for so extra- 
ordinary a change in affairs, the future historian will 
probably point to other reasons besides the vulgar 
outcry for national enlargement. He will doubtless 
find occasion to lament the decline of public spirit. 
Whether it be that Providence at certain periods sends 
great men into the world to accomplish particular 
purposes ; or that such at all times latently exist, and 
are developed into notice by national convulsions; or, 
to hazard another alternative, that republics are not 
favourable to the growth of prominent individuals, the 
fact is undeniable that the great men who effected the 
American and French revolutions, and who, be it 
remarked, were bred up under monarchical rule, left 
behind them no equals in magnitude of intellect or 
indomitable force of character. It is true that several 
persons who figured in the commotions of 7 76 were 
still on the stage when the Louisiana Bill came under 
discussion; but there was now a general collapse in 
heroism ; intrigue took the place of patriotic ardour ; 



30 AMERICAN SLAVERY AND COLOUR. 

the men of the north, for the sake of material interests, 
succumbed to a course of treatment, which their more 
sturdy ancestors -would not have endured from an 
English ministry. Unfortunately, also, a deterioration 
of manners was visible among slaveholders. The gentle- 
manly spirit of the old planters was passing away. 
Virginia was beginning to be ' overrun by time-servers, 
office-hunters, and political blacklegs/ Power was 
subsiding into the possession of this disreputable class 
of personages. Nor, all things considered, could much 
else be expected. Certain radical mistakes, as had 
been seen, were committed in the general terms of 
union. The constitutional recognition of slavery had 
fixed and given breadth to the institution. The slave- 
holders had secured a franchise to which nothing 
corresponded in the North. Of course, such a flagrant 
piece of injustice could not have been tolerated for 
any length of time, had the North been true to itself. 
But this, as we may afterwards have occasion to 
particularise, it has never been — a large proportion 
of northern men having on all occasions cast in their 
lot with the political party represented by the more 
imperious aristocracy of the South. With such facts 
before us, can we feel surprise at the passage of the 
Louisiana Bill, and all subsequent bills of the same 
nature? Freedom had been delivered up, bound 
hand and foot, to the interests of slavery, and all 
that followed was a natural consequence of this 
fundamental error. 

We are justified in these opinions by the remarks 
of the venerable Josiah Quincy, a survivor of the 
youthful era of the republic. In his late admirable 
address on this subject, he says : f The passage of the 
Louisiana Admission Bill was effected by arts which 
slaveholders well know how to select and apply. Sops 
were given to the congressional watch-dogs of the free 



ACQUISITION OF LOUISIANA. 31 

states. To some, promises were made, by way of 
opiates; and those whom they could neither pay nor 
drug, were publicly treated with insolence and scorn. 
Threats, duels, and violence were at that day, as now, 
modes approved by them to deter men from awakening 
the free states to a sense of danger. From the 
moment the act was passed, they saw that the free 
states were shorn of their strength; that they had 
obtained space to multiply slaves at their will ; and Mr 
Jefferson had confidently told them that, from that 
moment, the "constitution of the United States was 
blank paper ; " but more correctly, there was no longer 
any constitution. The slaveholders, from that day, 
saw they had the free states in their power ; that they 
were masters, and the free states slaves ; and have 
acted accordingly. From the passage of the Louisiana 
Bill until this day, their policy has been directed to 
a single object, with almost uninterrupted success. 
That object was to exclude the free states from any 
share of power, except in subserviency to their views ; 
and they have undeniably, during all the subsequent 
period of our history (the administration of John 
Quincy Adams only excepted) placed in the chair of 
state either slaveholders or men from the free states, 
who, for the sake of power, consented to be their tools 
— "Northern men with Southern principles;" in 
other words, men who, for the sake of power or pay, 
were willing to do any work they would set them 
upon.' * 

With the widening scope for slave-labour opened 
up by the passage of the Louisiana Bill, also the 
contemporary extension of slavery over portions of the 
southern states, it will not appear strange that in 1810 

* Address Illustrative of the Nature and Power of the Slave States, and 
the Duties of the Free States: delivered at Quincy, Massachusetts, June 
5,1856. Boston: Ticknor and Fields. 



32 AMERICAN SLAVERY AND COLOUR. 

(notwithstanding the removal of the institution from 
several states, and the stoppage of the foreign slave- 
trade in 1808), the number of slaves in the Union had 
increased to 1,191,364 — a significant commentary on 
the hallucinations of the patriot founders of the 
republic. 



THE MISSOURI COMPROMISE. 

Starting with lofty notions of liberty and equality, 
the United States, as already noticed, have always, 
and now more than ever, been hampered with an insti- 
tution at variance with public profession, and which 
— from a European point of view — is lowering in 110 
small degree to national dignity. Seemingly ashamed 
of slavery as a too obvious fact, American writers 
hasten to assure us that it is a mere local usage 
depending on the municipal law of the states in which 
it happens to exist, and therefore in no way concerns 
the federal constitution. We are not going to plunge 
into a political dispute on this point. It is true that 
slavery derives its vitality from the laws of individual 
states, and if these laws were severally abrogated, the 
institution would be no more ; but it is equally certain, 
that while these laws are in operation, the federal 
power is bound to give them international efficacy. 
The constitution imparts authority to slaveholders to 
pursue and seize their property, { persons held to 
service,' anywhere within the boundaries of the Union 
— even where no slavery exists. Besides this old 
Fugitive Slave-law, lately strengthened by an act of 
congress, the constitution prescribes a method of 
making up a constituency to appoint members to the 
House of Representatives, by reckoning the ratio of 
free and bond persons. Doubtless, it is unfortunate 
that the constitution in any manner, however equivocal, 
recognised and gave force to the practice of holding 
slaves, and so took that mean stand in the matter 
of human equality which embarrasses American 



34 AMERICAN SLAVERY AND COLOUR. 

jurisprudence; but nothing, we think, is to be gained 
by shirking the fact, and taking a disingenuous view of 
the subject. 

It has been mentioned that the purchase of 
Louisiana, in 1803, was a turning-point in the history 
of the Union. At this time, the institution was disap- 
pearing from the more northern Atlantic states; and 
by the celebrated ordinance of 1787, it was excluded 
from the large Indiana territory on the north-west, 
from which have been formed the prosperous free 
states of Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Michigan, Wisconsin, 
and Iowa. It lingered still in New York and New 
Jersey, but southward from Pennsylvania, and west- 
ward as far as the banks of the Mississippi, it was 
as yet confined to the limits of the 'Old Dominion/ 
Kentucky was formed from a ceded portion of Virginia, 
Tennessee from North Carolina, and, in like manner, 
Alabama and Mississippi from portions of Georgia; 
but though adding to the number of states, and 
swelling the slaveholding interests in congress, these 
re-arrangements did not geographically extend the area 
of slavery. 

The acquisition of the French province of Louisiana 
opened up a boundless prospect for slavery extension. 
For a number of years, the newly acquired tract of 
country remained a territory under federal authority. 
At length, in 1812, the lower part on the Gulf of 
Mexico was admitted as the state of Louisiana. The 
remainder of the purchase, stretching northwards on 
the west bank of the Mississippi, and embracing the 
rivers Arkansas and Missouri, was henceforth known 
as the Missouri Territory, over which settlers gradually 
spread themselves. In March 1818, a sufficient popu- 
lation being consolidated, petitions from the inhabitants 
were presented to congress, praying for the admission 
of Missouri as a state. Now began the first resolute 



THE MISSOURI COMPROMISE. 35 

struggle between slavery and freedom. It was the 
wish of the petitioners to have the state admitted on 
equal terms with the state of Louisiana, in which the 
inhabitants were guaranteed all the privileges, that of 
holding slaves among others, which they had enjoyed 
under the French rule. This was firmly opposed. A 
degree of alarm concerning the spread of slavery had 
taken possession of legislators from the free states; 
and it was felt that now or never was the opportunity 
for checking its wonderful and unexpected growth in 
the far west. It must be allowed, that members of 
congress had been rather late in making this notable 
discovery — the whole nation, indeed, had been strangely 
negligent on the subject. If there was a general desire 
to admit no more states with slavery, the proper 
precaution would have consisted in enacting a law, like 
that of the ordinance of 1787, for ever excluding the 
institution from the territories out of which such states 
could possibly be formed. The defects of the federal 
constitution seemed to necessitate such a legislative 
measure. 

It has been graphically said, that when a number 
of adventurers, British subjects, land on a newly 
discovered territory, and take possession in the name 
of the Queen, the common law of England is ipso facto 
established; and from that moment every member of 
the infant community, no matter what be his breed or 
colour, enjoys all the privileges, and comes under the 
usual obligations of free-born Englishmen. In such 
manner does the British constitution act, and there is 
a decision and simplicity about it which cannot but 
command respect. The constitution of the United 
States is less comprehensive and peremptory. Plant it 
where you will, it settles no determinate social system. 
It proclaims freedom, but admits of slavery. All 
men are free, but freemen may hold slaves — ( chattels 



36 AMERICAN SLAVERY AND COLOUR. 

human ' — who though men de facto, are seemingly not 
men de jure. The British flag, God knows, has in its 
day sheltered much insolence, injustice, cruelty. Under 
it, eighty years ago, an audacious attempt — since 
regretted and atoned for — was made to rob English 
colonists of their inherent rights, and what the end of 
that was, we all know. Things are somewhat altered 
since Grenville passed the Stamp Act, or since good 
old Dr Johnson wrote Taxation no Tyranny. When 
we see the Union Jack floating from a vessel in the 
Atlantic, we feel a sound assurance that there is not 
the vestige of a slave on board. A sight of the 
American flag does not convey the same confidence; 
seen south from the capes of Virginia, two to one it is 
covering a cargo of slaves on the way to the market 
for ' chattels human ' at New Orleans; for though the 
foreign slave-trade terminated in 1808, the coasting 
slave-trade did not, and is till this day in full operation. 
If this be thought a hard view of practices prevailing 
under the federal constitution, we cannot help it. 
The constitution is not that of a distinct nation, but 
simply the terms of compact by which a number of 
sovereignties — at present thirty-one — agree to hold 
together for the sake of mutual convenience and 
purposes common to the whole. Some of these 
sovereignties exclude slavery, some maintain it. The 
federal constitution, consequently, operates with con- 
siderable reserve on this delicate subject. It is any- 
thing you like to make of it. When extended over 
new territories, unless congress interpose an order to 
the contrary, the choice of domestic institutions is 
nominally left to the parties concerned. If, when the 
time comes, they choose to inaugurate slavery, good 
and well; it is all the same to the constitution. This 
is called f freedom.' So much for theory. Let us now 
see how the thing practically works. 



THE MISSOURI COMPROMISE. 37 

When a new tract of country is acquired by the 
United States, it passes into the possession and under 
the control of the federal authorities, who hold it for 
the general behoof. If it be resolved to lay it out for 
a new state, it is first created a e territory/ As such, 
it is the subject of an act of congress, from which 
body it receives an interim constitution, prescribing 
its boundaries, divisions, executive authorities, laws, 
judicial and political system. With a governor 
appointed by the president, it remains under federal 
tutelage, till on petition of its inhabitants it is admitted 
into the sisterhood of states. All this seems reason- 
able, and, in its general features, the practice affords a 
fine instance of that self-creative political organisation 
for which the Americans are celebrated. Analysing 
the acts of congress and presidents, we observe some- 
thing less favourable. The federal constitution is silent 
about race or colour; but in interpreting it, American 
lawgivers arrive at the conclusion, that the United 
States are the property of whites, and that persons 
with a tinge of dark colour in their countenance, 
though born free, are not citizens. A short time ago, 
this view of citizenship was enforced by a high federal 
officer, one of the secretaries of state, who refused 
passports to some coloured free persons, on the ground 
that they 'were not citizens within the meaning of 
the constitution/ This may be a right or a wrong 
interpretation of the fundamental charter of the Union : 
it is, at all events, acted on without apparently exciting 
public challenge. Accordingly, in passing an act to 
organise a territory — as, for example, that of 1854, 
constituting the territories of Nebraska and Kansas — 
there is the following regulation in regard to voters : 
1 Every free white male inhabitant, twenty-one years 
old, an actual resident in the territory at the time of 
the passage of this act, and with the qualifications 



38 AMERICAN SLAVERY AND COLOUR. 

after described, may vote/ &c. Thus, at the very 
outset, a disqualification is imposed on free coloured 
persons, without the slightest regard to their means 
or their ability ; and from this to ' holding persons 
to service/ is an easy transition. Such, however, are 
the prejudices against colour in the United States, 
that the most ardent lovers of freedom in Kansas, 
while suffering from pro-slavery aggression, never 
proposed to give the franchise to any but whites. 

The federal constitution being indifferent to the 
spread or limitation of slavery, the will of congress 
and president for the time being is a kind of supple- 
mental constitution, whence the internal policy of a 
new territory is moulded. Much usually depends on 
the political leanings of the president, who, being 
irremovable for four years, and armed with an enor- 
mous power of appointment to office, may be said to 
exercise a control more resembling that of a despot 
than a constitutional sovereign. The presidents of 
past times have, for the most part, had strong pro- 
slavery convictions, and thrown the balance of authority 
in that direction. Still affecting to allow fair-play in 
the scramble between slavery and anti-slavery prin- 
ciples in the inchoate states, they would rather seem 
to have aided in imparting to them pro-slavery con- 
stitutions. Mr Pierce, the late president, thought 
that if things are left to take their course in a terri- 
tory, slavery, from its intrinsic qualities, will outstrip 
freedom. In his late message to congress, he says : 
1 It is the fact that in all the unsettled regions of the 
United States, if emigration be left free to act in this 
respect for itself, without legal prohibitions on either 
side, slave labour will spontaneously go everywhere in 
preference to free labour. Is it the fact that the 
peculiar domestic institutions of the southern states 
possess relatively so much of vigour, that wheresoever 



THE MISSOURI COMPROMISE. 39 

an avenue is freely open to all the world, they will 
penetrate, to the exclusion of those of the northern 
states V Leaving the North to answer Mr Pierce's 
question, it is enough for us to know that the 
pretended freedom communicated by congress and the 
constitution, produces an unseemly fracas in territorial 
organisation ; so that ever and anon a battle is raging 
somewhere in the south or west. 

The act being passed which throws open the territory 
for settlement, a rush ensues from all points in the 
Union. Lawyers, schoolmasters, printers, and preachers 
from Massachusetts; farmers from Vermont and New 
Hampshire ; mechanics and pedlers from Connecticut ; 
storekeepers from Cincinnati, Philadelphia, and New 
York ; planters with bands of ' servants ' from Alabama 
and Kentucky; and loafers, rowdies, and ragamuffins 
from everywhere, are hastening on by steam-boat, 
railway, wagon, horseback, wheel-barrow, and on foot 
to the land of promise — struggling, pushing, driving, 
drinking, swearing, cheating, and it may be, fighting. 
The rule, if there be a rule, is every man for himself. 
The great thing is, who shall get the earliest clutch at 
the best localities; and not much ceremony is used 
in squatting and taking possession. In no time, a 
capital city is planted, hotels struck up, a state-house 
inaugurated, newspapers set agoing, and voting for 
territorial, civic, and judicial officers is in 'full blast.' 
In one sense, there is something grand in this restless 
onflow of Anglo-Americans over the domains of unre- 
claimed nature. We are carried in imagination back to 
that most ancient of injunctions, f to go forth to replenish 
the earth, and subdue it.' To be sure, the thing is done 
coarsely — very. But it is done somehow; and from 
the chaos of a first settlement, spring in due time order 
and civilisation. What we have occasion to deplore is, 
the totally unnecessary and undesirable scramble for 



40 AMERICAN SLAVERY AND COLOUR. 

slavery or freedom in the new settlements. We need 
hardly say that, according to all accounts, the slave- 
holding interests take care to assume such a dictatorial 
attitude in these freshly opened lands, that under 
favour of the federal executive, they are able to 
overawe opposition, and to prefer claims to congress 
for a pro-slavery constitution, which cannot well be 
withstood. That congress should all the while com- 
placently stand aside, on the presumption that a free 
choice is to be made, and at last legislate on this 
understanding, seems only to be a method of wilfully 
extending slavery to the further limits of the Union. 
Of course, should congress attempt to legislate pros- 
pectively in favour of freedom, it will have imputed to 
it that it is unconstitutionally taking a side — doing 
what it has no business to do; acting as umpire 
between free and slave states. There are grounds, 
however, for believing that congress possesses authority 
to exclude slavery from the territories. Jefferson's 
ordinance of 1787, excluding it from the north-west 
territory, was an enactment of the last continental 
congress, which has been repeatedly recognised and 
sanctioned by the federal congress. It is evident, 
therefore, that until a new and more comprehensive 
federal constitution is adopted — if ever that will be 
— the proper course of policy, if it be at all practicable 
amidst party contentions, is for congress to pass a 
general enactment, for ever excluding slavery from 
all the territories of the United States. Mr Buchanan, 
we believe, maintains the doctrine, that the constitu- 
tion limits the power of congress in this respect; 
while, on the contrary, his late opponent, Colonel 
Fremont, holds to the opinion that congress is con- 
stitutionally entitled 'to prohibit in the territories 
those twin-relics of barbarism — polygamy and slavery.' 
Moderate men of all parties, we should think, would 



THE MISSOURI COMPROMISE. 41 

wish to see congress resolutely embrace this latter 
opinion ; but in order to do so with any chance of 
success, northern men would require to abandon that 
singularly temporising policy — that anomalous sub- 
serviency to southern interests — for which they have 
earned an unenviable reputation. It is notorious, that 
with all the prevalent alarm respecting the increasing 
power of slaveholders, and all the professions in favour 
of freedom, the North expresses no desire to do more 
than seclude slavery within a certain geographical 
limit. That this has generally been the hapless policy 
of the free portion of the Union, is conspicuous in the 
history of the Missouri Compromise and subsequent 
events. 

We now approach this famed Compromise. In 
February 1819, the petition of the inhabitants of 
Missouri for the admission of their state, which had 
been some time under consideration, led to a hot 
debate in congress. In the House of Representatives, 
Mr Tallmadge of New York moved the following 
amendment on the proposed constitution: 'And pro- 
vided that the introduction of slavery, or involuntary 
servitude, be prohibited, except for the punishment of 
crimes, whereof the party has been duly convicted, and 
that all children born within the said state, after the 
admission thereof into the Union, shall be declared free 
at the age of twenty-five years.' To this restriction, 
southern members objected, for the reason that congress 
had no right to impose such offensive terms. Missouri 
was entitled, like every other state, to choose its own 
institutions, so far as slavery was concerned. Threats 
were thrown out, that if the restriction were carried, 
the South would dissolve its connection with the Union. 
Tallmadge, who appears to have been a man of daunt- 
less energy, referred to this new outcry : { If a dissolu- 
tion of the Union must take place, let it be so. If civil 



42 AMERICAN SLAVERY AND COLOUR. 

war, which gentlemen so much threaten, must come, I 
can only say, let it come. My hold on life is probably 
as frail as that of any man who now hears me; but 
while that hold lasts, it shall be devoted to the service 
of my country — to the freedom of man. If blood is 
necessary to extinguish any fire which I have assisted 
to kindle, I can assure gentlemen, while I regret the 
necessity, I shall not forbear to contribute my mite. 
Sir, the violence to which gentlemen have resorted on 
this subject will not move my purpose, nor drive me 
from my place. I have the fortune and the honour to 
stand here as the representative of freemen, who pos- 
sess intelligence to know their rights — who have the 
spirit to maintain them. As their representative, I will 
proclaim their hatred to slavery in every shape — as 
their representative, here will I hold my stand, till 
this floor, with the constitution of my country which 
supports it, shall sink beneath me — if I am doomed to 
fall, I shall at least have the painful consolation to 
believe that I fall as a fragment in the ruins of my 
country.' Referring to menaces of violence, he con- 
tinued : ' Has it already come to this : that in the 
congress of the United States — that in the legislative 
councils of republican America, the subject of slavery 
has become a subject of so much feeling — of such 
delicacy — of such danger, that it cannot be safely 
discussed ! Are we to be told of the dissolution 
of the Union, of civil war, and of seas of blood? 
And yet, with such awful threatenings before us, 
do gentlemen in the same breath insist upon the 
encouragement of this evil ; upon the extension of this 
monstrous scourge of the human race? An evil so 
fraught with such dire calamities to us as individuals, 
and to our nation, and threatening in its progress to 
overwhelm the civil and religious institutions of the 
country, with the liberties of the nation, ought at once 



THE MISSOURI COMPROMISE. 43 

to be met, and to be controlled. If its power, its 
influence, and its impending dangers, have already- 
arrived at such, a point that it is not safe to discuss it 
on this floor, and it cannot now pass under considera- 
tion as a proper subject for general legislation, what 
will be the result when it is spread through your 
widely extended domain? Its present threatening 
aspect, and the violence of its supporters, so far from 
inducing me to yield to its progress, prompt me to 
resist its march. Now is the time. It must now be 
met, and the extension of the evil must now be 
prevented, or the occasion is irrecoverably lost, and 
the evil can never be controlled.' 

Next, alluding to the extension of empire over the 
vast territories of the west, Tallmadge says : ' People 
this fair domain with the slaves of your planters ; 
extend slavery, this bane of man, this abomination of 
Heaven, over your extended empire, and you prepare 
its dissolution; you turn its accumulated strength into 
positive weakness ; you cherish a canker in your breast ; 
you put poison in your bosom; you place a vulture 
preying on your heart — nay, you whet the dagger and 
place it in the hands of a portion of your population, 
stimulated to use it by every tie, human and divine. 
The envious contrast between your happiness and their 
misery, between your liberty and their slavery, must 
constantly prompt them to accomplish your destruc- 
tion. Your enemies will learn the source and the cause 
of your weakness. As often as external dangers shall 
threaten, or internal commotions await you, you will 
then realise that, by your own procurement, you have 
placed amidst your families, and in the bosom of your 
country, a population producing at once the greatest 
cause of individual danger and of national weakness. 
With this defect, your government must crumble to 
pieces, and your people become the scoff of the world.' 



44 AMERICAN SLAVERY AND COLOUR. 

Finally, the bill embodying the restriction was lost. 
The men of the north, we have said, strangely content 
themselves with seeing slavery fortify and extend itself, 
provided it keep within a certain limit. The required 
line of division appears to be that which bounds the 
cotton-producing lands of the south. Having lost 
Missouri territory, as a whole, the friends of freedom 
did not prevent the southern portion of it being 
organised as a territory, without any restriction as to 
slavery. This was accordingly done. Arkansas was 
set off as a distinct territory; and the usual means 
being employed to give it pro-slavery tendencies, it 
became ultimately (1836) a slave state. 

The struggle about Missouri was renewed in 
December 1819 and January 1820. As there seemed 
no possibility of reconciling both branches of congress 
to a plan of restriction within Missouri, the idea of a 
compromise was suggested. It was proposed by Mr 
Thomas of Illinois to admit Missouri as a slave state ; 
but, as a compensation, to exclude it prospectively 
from all the remainder of the old Louisianan territory, 
north of a certain latitude. His provision was — 
f And be it further enacted, That in all that territory 
ceded by France to the United States under the name 
of Louisiana which lies north of thirty-six degrees 
thirty minutes, north latitude, excepting only such 
part thereof as is included within the limits of the 
state contemplated by this act, slavery and involuntary 
servitude, otherwise than in the punishment of crime 
whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, shall 
be, and is hereby for ever prohibited.' This com- 
promise, after various divisions in both houses, was 
adopted. Missouri was enabled to enter the Union as 
a slave state. There was yet, however, another struggle 
connected with this troublesome matter. When the 
Missourians, in November 1820, submitted their state 



THE MISSOURI COMPROMISE. 45 

constitution to the approval of congress, it was found 
to contain some objectionable clauses, preventing the 
settlement of free men of colour in the state. As 
several northern states acknowledge free coloured 
men to be citizens, though the federal constitution, 
as usually interpreted, is much more exclusive, the 
objectionable clauses met with a warm opposition. At 
this juncture, a new character comes on the stage. 
Throughout the whole Missouri affair, Henry Clay, 
a statesman of no mean eminence, had given the aid 
of his counsels. If every man has his mission, Clay's 
seems to have been that of inventing compromises. 
He was an orator, a schemer — one of those mighty 
geniuses who have always a plan in their pocket to 
tide over difficulties, and who, in securing present 
peace, do not mind sowing the seeds of future discord. 
Clay's plan of engineering a difficulty was sublimely 
simple. It consisted in compounding for so much evil 
by so much good. If a certain quantity of slavery 
was put in one scale, the same quantity of freedom, or 
what looked like freedom, was put in the other ; so the 
balance was adjusted, and all parties satisfied. He is 
understood to have been the real concocter of the 
Missouri Compromise; and now, at this fresh and 
unexpected collision, he interposed with a scheme of 
settlement. It consisted in exacting a pledge from 
the Missouri legislature, that no advantage should be 
taken of its constitution, and it should pass no act f to 
exclude any of the citizens of either of the states ' from 
the enjoyment of the privileges they enjoy under the 
constitution of the United States. This qualifying 
provision was accepted. The only question is — who 
are 'citizens within the meaning of the constitution?' 
So ended the contests about Missouri, which was 
received into the Union as a full-blown slave state — 
a circumstance ever to be regretted, for, independently 



46 AMERICAN SLAVERY AND COLOUR. 

of other considerations, the state, as will be seen on 
looking at a map, projects considerably northward into 
free territory, and so stops the way to free migration 
westward. 



FLORIDA TEXAS CLAy's OMNIBUS MEASURE. 



Sympathising with the Americans in their unfortunate 
inheritance of slavery, and making every allowance 
for the constitutional difficulties which are presumed 
to surround any plan for its eradication, we must 
regret the manner in which this portentous evil has 
not only been suffered but actually stimulated to grow 
in dimensions. At no period since the foundation of 
the Union, has the number of slaves diminished ; on 
the contrary, it has regularly increased; and at the 
period at which our narrative has arrived, 1820, it 
amounted to 1,538,064. 

From the time the Missouri Compromise came 
under agitation, there was a succession of measures, 
all calculated to extend the sphere of compulsory 
servitude. The first of these was the annexation of 
Florida, which did not excite any particular hostility. 
The peninsula of Florida — swampy, rich in alluvial 
marshes and savannahs, and eminently suitable for 
the production of rice and the sugar-cane — possesses a 
history abounding in picturesque incident. Discovered 
and settled by the Spaniards ; captured by the English ; 
then rendered back to the Spaniards ; it ultimately, 
during the early years of the present century, became 
an object of desire to the United States — to which, 
by contiguity, it formed so convenient an appendage, 
that its fate from the outset could easily have been 
foretold. 

The Americans, as their best friends allow, have 
never, on suitable occasions, been at a loss to make 
out a good case of injury, requiring smart reparation. 



48 AMERICAN SLAVERY AND COLOUR. 

The Floridans were a bad set. They had preyed like 
freebooters on American commerce, and the sufferers 
were denied all redress from Spain; they had excited 
the Indians to molest the frontiers of the states; and, 
worst of all, they had given refuge to runaway slaves 
from Georgia and Louisiana. Such proceedings were 
intolerable. Pacific overtures having failed, the United 
States government despatched a military force to 
overrun Florida. Negotiations followed, in which the 
Americans advanced a claim to Texas, as having been 
a portion of the old French province of Louisiana, 
which the Spaniards ought long since to have relin- 
quished. Spain was thankful to buy off this strange 
demand, and otherwise adjust the claims against it, by 
ceding Florida; the United States at the same time 
undertaking to indemnify American citizens for their 
losses. In virtue of a treaty to this effect, Florida was 
taken possession of by General Jackson in the summer 
of 1821. As a territory of the Union, this hapless 
peninsula endured for some time the horrors of a war 
levied against the Seminole Indians, with a view to 
recover fugitive slaves and their descendants. The 
narrative of this ruthless war of races, aggravated by 
the use of blood-hounds to trace the Indians and negroes 
through the brakes and swamps, involves instances of 
more fearful suffering and daring heroism than perhaps 
any history of modern times. Finally, the Indians 
being subdued and removed in a body, and the real 
or alleged fugitives secured, Florida settled down into 
the ordinary condition of a state, with slavery as a 
legalised institution. 

The claim on Texas on the above occasion, shewed 
pretty conclusively that there were parties in the 
United States who cast a longing eye in that direction. 
The practice of acquiring new countries and adding 
them to the Union, began with Louisiana and Florida, 



TEXAS. 49 

and with these precedents, might be carried to any 
extent. The desire for these territorial acquisitions, 
though partly owing to the restless character of the 
Americans, as well as to certain necessities in their 
position, arose in no small degree from causes con- 
nected with slavery. Not to speak of the exhaustion 
of lands by slave-labour, and the corresponding 
obligation to seek for fresh scenes of operation, there is 
an incessant natural increase in the slave population, 
which leaves to planters no choice between being 
eaten up by servants, sending them adrift through 
the agency of the slave-trader, or causing their sons 
to remove with detachments to new lands. On this 
account alone, there is positively no limit to the 
extension of slavery. Unless the surplus be carried 
off by emancipation — and to that the law in several 
states presents serious obstacles — there is no restricting 
it in amount or keeping it within a definite locality. 
Then, we have the commercial principle giving 
active impulse to the institution. Slave breeders and 
traders rejoice in the prospect of new settlements and 
new purchasers; and if the matter rested with them, 
they would be glad to see the Wnion ingulf country 
after country, till at length there was nothing more 
to incorporate. To this wild demand for territorial 
enlargement, the central government, for obvious 
reasons, can give no external concurrence in the first 
instance ; but that is of little consequence. 

The condition of affairs in America is at all times 
favourable to the commission of daring exploits by 
private adventurers, whose acts can be repudiated or 
sanctioned as circumstances shall determine. In no 
country in Europe could be found groups of individuals 
at all to compare with these adventurers, of the true 
filibuster type. They are the refuse of the world 
— penniless, reckless, confident, and unscrupulous. 



50 AMERICAN SLAVERY AND COLOUR. 

Refugee Poles, Italians, and Frenchmen ; exiles from 
the British Islands, bankrupt in character and fortune; 
Portuguese and Spaniards, with predatory habits 
acquired in the slave-trade or in freebooting ; immi- 
grant Germans, who, instead of pushing off to inland 
rural settlements, as is usual with their countrymen, 
have become frequenters of taverns, and copiously 
indulge in ' lager beer ; ' sons of American gentlemen, 
who, brought up without restraint, and having gone 
through their fortune, loiter about bar-rooms and 
gaming-houses, get up dog and cock fighting matches, 
and at night tormentiug the streets as rowdies — all 
are ready for any sort of mischief. Such are some of 
the elements of a filibustering expedition, of which, 
however, the ' white trash ' of the south, by whom 
honest labour is deemed a disgrace, usually form the 
staple material. Equip, arm, and ship off company 
after company of this heterogeneous mass — see them 
land in grotesque costume, their trousers stuffed into 
dirty boots, their red woollen shirts, their rusty beards, 
hats of every imaginable shape, belts stuck with 
bowie-knives and revolvers, and rifles slung over 
their shoulders — chewing, spitting, swearing — and you 
have an army of marauders such as, we venture to 
say, could be nowhere else produced on the face of the 
earth. 

Nature accomplishes great designs by rough agencies. 
The Old World was not peopled and settled as we 
now see it, without going through centuries of 
violence and bloodshed. Greeks, Persians, Romans, 
Goths, Saxons, Normans, and Sea-kings, all in their 
turn conquered without justice or mercy. But that 
was long ago, and one imagines that, under the lights 
of Christianity and modern civilisation, things should 
be managed differently. True in one respect, but 
not in another. Much of the American continent 



TEXAS. 51 

is now going through its ancient and middle ages. 
Filibusters are the Sea-kings of the nineteenth century. 
Who is to restrain them, so long as they confine 
their stealthy attacks to regions under a weak rule, 
adjoining the southern states, and the annexation of 
which to the Union flatters the desire for national 
aggrandisement? If to this we add the ardent demand 
for new territories over which to disseminate slave- 
labour, the impulse for acquisition not only becomes 
irresistible, but, to judge from past events, is almost 
certain to receive the countenance of the highest federal 
authorities. 

Looking about for means of advancing their interests, 
slaveholders and slave-traders saw no outlet so avail- 
able as that westward along the Gulf of Mexico into 
Texas. This province, of almost matchless fertility, 
producing cotton equal to the finest in the United 
States, extended over twelve degrees of latitude, with 
an area large enough to form eight or nine ordinary 
sized states ; and it was calculated that, if freely 
opened to planters and their servants, the value of 
human stock would probably rise fifty per cent. Ever 
seeking new spots for settlement, parties of emigrants 
had begun to find homes in Texas as early as 1819. 
They were chiefly from the north, and, for the sake of 
material interests, were fain to submit to the petty 
tyranny which usually accompanies the Spanish rule. 
Some years elapsed before there appeared any chance 
of success for a filibustering expedition. As soon 
as Mexico had shaken off Spain, and declared itself 
a republic, things seemed ripe for striking a blow. 
From this time, 1834-5, we hear of migration into 
Texas on a formidable scale. It is no longer parties 
of industrious yeomen who come across the frontier, 
but companies of armed men, under southern leaders 
of military reputation. Claiming to have territorial 



52 AMERICAN SLAVERY AND COLOUR. 

rights under grants from Mexican authorities, there 
arrive in their train, flocks of greedy speculators and 
jobbers, holders of scrip in real or pretended joint- 
stock land companies, besides a floating mass of 
adventurers anxious to secure whatever good might fall 
in their way — and when we recollect that there was a 
country as large as France to be won by dint of a little 
impudence and fighting, and that the first-comers had 
the best chance, the rush to Texas is no great matter 
for surprise. The method of appropriation, however, is 
curious. It resembles nothing so much as that of a 
lodger who, taking a fancy to his quarters, begins by 
finding fault with his landlord, and ends with turning 
him out of doors. Clearly, the Americans had no 
business in Texas — not any more than the English had 
in India — and if they went thither, it was their duty as 
foreigners to remain quiet. But good order and respect 
for rights are, in such cases, against all rule. How 
the Texan settlers and their allies picked endless 
quarrels with the wretched government to which the 
province nominally belonged — how, under General Sam. 
Houston, the invading host unfurled the standard 
of rebellion — the significant lone-star — which like a 
meteor they carried through the country, as far as 
the banks of the Rio Grande del Norte — how they 
overpowered the Mexicans, and in one of their battles 
captured Santa Anna, whom they set at liberty only 
on having conceded to them the independence of 
Texas — are all circumstances well known. In short, 
in the space of two years, by the desultory movements 
of a body of unauthorised adventurers, an extensive 
and valuable province was wrested from Mexico. The 
brilliance of this exploit is somewhat lessened by the 
fact, that a large army entered Texas, by order of the 
United States government, professedly to allay Indian 
disturbances, but really to hang about as a reserve, 



TEXAS. 53 

to countenance, and, if need be, to support, the 
filibusters. The object of the invasion was never a 
matter of doubt. It was to secure independence, and 
then to seek annexation, with a view to strengthening 
southern interests, by adding several new slaveholding 
states to the Union. On the character of this splendid 
manoeuvre, we should prefer allowing an American 
writer to speak. f Some crimes by their magnitude,' 
says Channing, l have a touch of the sublime ; and to 
this dignity the seizure of Texas by our citizens is 
entitled. Modern times furnish no example of indi- 
vidual rapine on so grand a scale. It is nothing less 
than the robbery of a realm. The pirates seize a ship. 
The colonists and their coadjutors satisfy themselves 
with nothing short of an empire.' Shrinking from 
annexation, he adds that this act will be accomplished 
only at the f imminent periP of American ' institutions, 
union, prosperity, virtue, and peace/ * 

In the wilful perpetuation and extension of slavery 
— its infliction on a country from which it was expelled 
— lies, perhaps, the chief odium of this great deed of 
spoliation. Although accustomed to look with con- 
tempt on Spain and the transatlantic nations which 
she has planted, we are obliged in the present instance, 
as an act of simple justice, to state, that when the 
Mexicans attained independence, they at the same 
time loosened the bonds of the slave — decreeing, ' that 
no person thereafter should be born a slave, or intro- 
duced as such into the Mexican states ; that slaves then 
held should receive stipulated wages, and be subject 
to no punishment but on trial and judgment of the 
magistrate.' Doubtless, these humane provisions were 
partly a consequence of the large infusion of mixed 



* Channinrjs Letter to the Hon. Henry Clay, on the Annexation of 
Texas. 1837. 



5i AMERICAN SLAVERY' AND COLOUR. 

breeds and persons of colour in all ranks of Mexican 
society; but be this as it inay, slavery had been 
abolished in Texas when it fell into the hands of the 
Americans. After this occurrence, however, slaves 
were rapidly introduced, and with avowed slavery in- 
stitutions, the republic claimed to be admitted into the 
Union. When annexation was formally proposed, there 
was a considerable division of opinion as to its expe- 
diency. Petitions were presented to congress, and 
Daniel Webster, among other men of note, offered some 
wholesome oratorical opposition to the measure, on the 
ground that the admission of so large a region as 
Texas would give a most undue preponderance to the 
South. In one of his speeches, he says : ' I frankly 
avow my entire unwillingness to do anything which 
shall extend the slavery of the African race on this 
continent, or add other slaveholding states to the 
Union. When I say that I regard slavery in itself a 
great moral, social, and political evil, I only use lan- 
guage which has been adopted by distinguished men, 
themselves citizens of slaveholding states. I shall do 
nothing, therefore, to favour or encourage its further 
extension. In my opinion, the people of the United 
States will not consent to bring a new, vastly extensive, 
and slaveholding country, large enough for half-a-dozen 
or a dozen states, into the Union. In my opinion, they 
ought not to consent to it. Indeed, I am altogether 
at a loss to conceive what possible benefit any part of 
this country can expect to derive from such annexa- 
tion. All benefit to any part is at least doubtful and 
uncertain — the objections obvious, plain, and strong. 
On the general question of slavery, a great portion of 
the community is already strongly excited. The sub- 
ject has not only attracted attention as a question of 
politics, but it has struck a far deeper-toned chord — 
it has arrested the religious feeling of the country ; it 



TEXAS. 55 

lias taken a strong hold on the consciences of men. 
He is a rash man, indeed, and little conversant with 
human nature, and especially has he a very erroneous 
estimate of the character of the people of this country, 
who supposes that a feeling of this kind is to be trifled 
with or despised. It will assuredly cause itself to be 
respected.' In conclusion, he said : ' I see, therefore, 
no political necessity for the annexation of Texas to 
the Union — no advantages to be derived from it, and 
objections to it of a strong, and, in my judgment, 
decisive character. I believe it to be for the interest 
and happiness of the whole Union to remain as it is, 
without diminution and without addition.' 

Expostulation was useless. By the election of Mr 
Polk as president, November 1844, the people shewed 
their desire for annexation. When the subject was 
debated in congress, a resolution to annex was carried, 
and Texas was accordingly incorporated as a state in 
1845, without any restriction as to slavery. It was 
provided that four new states of convenient size might 
afterwards be formed out of it; and further, that 
slavery, at the discretion of the inhabitants, might 
exist in all the new states, south of 36° 30' north 
latitude, commonly known as the Missouri Compromise 
line. 

Out of the annexation of Texas sprung a war, which 
in its turn produced still greater extensions of 
the Union. According to Mexican topography, the 
boundary of Texas on the west was the river Nueces. 
The Texans, however, insisted that the proper limit 
was the Bio Grande del Norte; and in 1846, an army 
of occupation under General Taylor was marched into 
the disputed region. On this and some other grounds 
of dispute, a collision with the Mexicans ensued ; and 
for two years subsequently, there raged a war by 
sea and land with the United States. The result, 



56 AMERICAN SLAVERY AND COLOUR. 

as might have been expected, was disastrous to the 
Mexicans, who were no match for the Americans. 
Under General Scott, the war was prosecuted with 
consummate skill, and nothing could have been more 
easy than the conquest of the whole of Mexico, had it 
been expedient to carry matters that length. By the 
final terms of adjustment, the United States govern- 
ment paid large sums to Mexico for extensive tracts 
of country which might have been retained or taken 
by force. The possessions acquired on this occasion 
included California, and certain regions in the interior, 
now composing the territories of New Mexico and 
Utah — in fact, by these annexations, in conjunction 
with rights founded on pre-occupation, the dominion 
of the United States engrossed the entire continent 
from the Atlantic to the Pacific, and from the British 
possessions on the north to the shrunken republic 
of Mexico on the south ; and it seemingly became 
only a question of expediency as to the time when all 
that remained of Mexico should swell the gigantic 
proportions of the Union. 

To procure a command of money for the purchases 
from Mexico, a bill of appropriation was laid before 
congress. Now ensued a long and entangled contest 
between parties respecting the restriction^ or non- 
restriction of slavery in the lands about to be acquired 
from Mexico; it was, in fact, a resumption of the old 
dispute, whether congress had the power to determine 
the institutions of the territories. The debate in the 
first instance turned on the motion of Mr David 
Wilmot of Pennsylvania, usually called the Wilmot 
proviso, which was to the effect of passing the bill, 
' provided neither slavery nor involuntary servitude 
shall ever exist in any part of the territory to be 
acquired from Mexico.' This and similar restrictive 
clauses were lost. In the succeeding congress, 1847, 



TEXAS. 57 

a bill was carried to organise the territory of Oregon, 
according to the provisions in the ordinance of 1787. 
This latter point, which insured freedom to the territory, 
was carried with some difficulty. It may here be 
added, that the territory of Minnesota was organised, 
1849, and that of Washington, 1853; both have free 
institutions. The northern situation of these terri- 
tories, we presume, rendered them not very available 
for slavery. 

During the passage of the Oregon bill, an attempt 

was made by the slaveholding interest to extend 

the line 36° 30' to the Pacific; but it was defeated. 

The object of the movement was, in effect, to make a 

distinct division of the United States into North and 

South, each with its peculiar institutions. Such a 

division was felt to be essential to the permanence of 

slavery; for if, at any subsequent period, free states 

should be organised on the borders of Texas, they 

would be a ready refuge for the whole slave population. 

The defeat of the proposed division, which was a kind 

of northern triumph, did no more, however, than 

postpone for a short time the tug of war. Hitherto, 

while there were plenty of new lands north and 

south to annex, free and slave states had been added 

in so equal a proportion, that the numerical balance 

was kept tolerably even. Now, the unoccupied lands 

in the north were becoming scarce; many new free 

states in that direction were hopeless ; and if the 

balance was to be maintained, the North would require 

to seek for an equipoise south of the line of the 

Missouri Compromise. The game of pitching new 

states into the Union was getting serious — the result 

critical. 

Nations, like individuals, usually add more to their 
cares than their comforts by their acquisitions of 
property. The United States had from small 



58 AMERICAN SLAVERY AND COLOUR. 

beginnings become a mighty empire ; but while 
prosperous in its material interests, it was vexed with 
intestine commotions. It had acquired enormously- 
large possessions in the south; but what was to be 
done with them? Eager discussions respecting these 
acquisitions occurred in congress, 1849-50. Zachary 
Taylor, the new president, having recommended the 
organisation of California as a state, and New Mexico 
and Utah as territories, of the Union, there arose 
a contest on that everlasting subject — the imposition 
of restrictions as to slavery. Once more, Henry Clay 
interposes to allay the storm with an ingeniously 
complicated and specious compromise. To understand 
the purport of this beautiful piece of legislation, it 
is necessary to have some notion of the state of affairs 
since 1834. The invasion of Texas, and its probable 
results in extending slavery, greatly stimulated the 
party of Abolitionists, who about this time began to 
agitate with uncommon zeal — perhaps more zeal than 
discretion — through the agency of speeches, pamphlets, 
and petitions. One of the things they especially 
demanded was the expulsion of slavery from the 
District of Columbia, where it was a scandal to the 
official capital of the States. So numerous were the 
petitions presented to congress on this and analogous 
subjects, that at length the extraordinary resolution 
to receive no more was adopted, and for several years 
the very right of petition was so far suspended. It 
was during this turbulent decade (1830-40), that a bill 
was brought in to extend the slave state of Missouri. 
The prescribed boundaries of this state on the west 
having excluded a triangular district, which remained 
free soil in virtue of the ordinance of 1787, the incor- 
poration of it was anxiously desired by the Missourians, 
for it was exceedingly fertile, and lay on the route 
to the rich and still unappropriated lands of Kansas. 



CLAY^S OMNIBUS MEASURE. 59 



Strange to say, the bill to incorporate tins region 
— legally insured to freedom — was passed in 1836 
without any perceptible opposition. The tract so 
annexed composes six counties, and has become one of 
the most populous and wealthy sections of the state, 
devoted to the growing of hemp, tobacco, and other 
articles, and cultivated by slaves. This, we are told, 
f is the most pro-slavery section of the state, in which 
was originated, and has been principally sustained, 
that series of inroads into Kansas, corruptions of her 
ballot-boxes, and outrages on her people, which have 
earned for their authors the appellation of border 
ruffians? * 

Not discouraged, the ultra anti-slavery party kept 
up a constant war of argument and remonstrance 
through the press. The Texan invasion and its 
consequences imparted fresh energy to the remon- 
strants. Petitions for a dissolution of the Union, for 
amendments in the constitution, for a reform of the 
representation, were poured into congress, and when 
discussions arose respecting the admission of California, 
the contest overshadowed all other questions. Clay, 
as has been said, now comes on the scene, with his 
plan of conciliation, which, being embodied in several 
bills, was cleverly carried through congress in August 
1850. This famous ' omnibus ' measure, as it was 
called, was worthy of Clay's genius. The South had 
complaints against the North, on account of the 
difficulties thrown in the way of recovering fugitive 
slaves. The North complained that slavery continued 
to exist in the District of Columbia. Clay projected 
some mutual concession on these points; and as the 
South was the more intractable, adjusted its demands 



* Histoi*y of the Straggle for Slavery Extension or Restriction. By 
Horace Greeley. Dix & Edwards, New York, 1850. 



60 AMERICAN SLAVERY AND COLOUR. 

by conceding that the inhabitants of the new southern 
acquisitions should exercise the right of introducing 
or excluding slavery; further, the original compact 
with Texas was confirmed, and its western boundary 
fixed at the Rio Grande del Norte. California was 
admitted as a state, and New Mexico and Utah as 
territories, on the basis of ' squatter sovereignty '— a 
circumstance of no moment, as it proved, to California, 
which, though already intruded on by some planters 
and their slaves, made choice of freedom. Slavery 
was not abolished in Columbia, but the slave-trade 
and open sales of slaves were prohibited under heavy 
penalties in the District. Lastly, the Fugitive Slave 
Bill strengthened those provisions in the federal con- 
stitution for recovering runaways, which in many parts 
of the country had become practically inoperative. 

These united measures did not become law without 
incurring opposition on both sides; but we are con- 
cerned to observe, that in all the divisions in the 
legislature, members from free states voted with the 
South — the only rational explanation of this being, 
that the principle of freedom versus slavery had not 
attained force sufficient to overcome party connec- 
tion or individually selfish considerations. Among the 
eminent men who on this occasion voted in violation 
of formerly professed principles, was Daniel Webster — 
a circumstance of which he was so painfully reminded 
by his rejection at a convention for proposing candi- 
dates for the presidentship, that he languished and died 
' a damaged man/ October 1852. Clay, a short time 
before, made an equally abrupt and unlamented exit. 

It is now, we believe, generally admitted by its 
partisans, that Clay's Fugitive Slave Bill was a grave 
political blunder; for, besides failing in its professed 
object, it caused considerable exasperation in the 
northern states, in some of which it is already as much 



clay's omnibus measure. 61 

a dead-letter as were the original obligations on 
which it was founded. So much for Clay's omnibus 
measure, which was to insure universal harmony ! So 
much for what a committee of congress in 1854, 
sagaciously proclaimed as having been 'a final settle- 
ment of the controversy, and an end of the agitation/ 
Well may one say, with how little wisdom is the world 
governed ! 

With the incentives to increase, to which we have 
drawn attention, it will not be thought remarkable 
that in 1850, the number of slaves in the United 
States had risen to 3,204,313. 



THE KANSAS- NEBRASKA AFFAIR. 

It will be recollected that on the occasion of consti- 
tuting the state of Missouri, in 1820, there was a 
compromise among parties to the effect that, in all the 
territory which had been ceded by France north of 
36° 30', the state of Missouri excepted, slavery should 
be for ever prohibited; and the act which admitted 
the state to the Union bore a clause of this kind. Here 
was a law settling the question so far, one would 
think. Events proved that this was not so certain. 
Missouri having edged itself in as a slave state, there 
the affair rested; and when, in 1836, a slice of fresh 
free territory was added to this slave state, the com- 
promise clause does not appear to have been agitated. 
It was reserved for Mr Pierce's first congress to be 
troubled with the resurrection of a measure which 
the bulk of the members — and Pierce to boot — had 
probably begun to hope was past being brought to life. 
On the 15th of December 1853, a bill was submitted 
to the senate to organise the territory of Nebraska; 
and on this occasion the unhappy compromise rises 
from the dead. Let us look at our maps, and see 
where lies the region which was to provoke one of the 
severest party contests that has ever occurred in or out 
of congress. 

Nebraska was the name at first given to a large 
tract of country, having on the east Missouri, Iowa, and 
Minnesota, and stretching from 36° 30' or thereabouts, 
to the borders of Canada. Its limits on the west 
were New Mexico, Utah, Oregon, and Washington. 
The more eastern portion of this vast territory, was 



THE KANSAS-NEBRASKA AFFAIR. 63 

fertilised by the rivers Platte, Kaw or Kansas, and 
other tributaries of the Missouri, and its only occu- 
pants were certain tribes of Indians. The rich lands 
on the borders of the rivers, and beyond them the 
rolling and flowery prairies, were, however, becoming 
too attractive to be much longer exempted from the 
ever-operating law of Anglo-American migration. 
The federal government had begun to cause regular 
explorations west of Missouri, about 1838, but on 
so imperfect a scale, that fresh and much more 
extensive investigations were ordered in 1842 ; the 
commander of the scientific explorers on this occasion 
being Lieutenant John Charles Fremont. The history 
of this journey of discovery to the shores of the Pacific 
is full of romantic incident, and as affording accurate 
accounts of that great western wilderness which will 
shortly afford a home for millions of civilised men, is 
deserving of more notice than it has generally obtained 
in Europe. Fremont, l the pathfinder/ was eminently 
successful in his explorations through the obscure passes 
of the Rocky Mountains. On one of the topmost 
peaks of this lofty range, upwards of 13,000 feet above 
sea-level, he gallantly waved in triumph the national 
flag, where, as he says, c never flag waved before.' 

The discoveries of Fremont opened the way for 
settlements, but none, except in an irregular manner, 
could take place till the territory was organised and 
surveyed; and these final measures were pushed on 
by Missourians and others personally acquainted with 
the capabilities of the unappropriated lands. Among 
the parties who urged forward the bill for organising 
the territory, there could hardly fail to be a conscious- 
ness that, as Nebraska lay directly north of 36° 30', it 
was exempted from the contamination of slavery, in 
virtue of the compromise. But then, was this com- 
promise of abiding effect — was it a compromise at all ? 



64 AMERICAN SLAVERY AND COLOUR. 

All admitted, what was undeniable, that there was a 
statute which guaranteed that all lands north of the 
line 36° 30', should be consecrated to freedom. This 
awkward difficulty was got rid of by declaring that 
the statute was unconstitutional, an interference with 
the rights of squatter sovereignty. As for there having 
been a compromise, where was it seen in any valid 
obligation? It was only a fond tradition, of no binding 
effect whatsoever. There may have been some mutual 
concessions among parties when the Missouri bill was 
passed, more than thirty years ago ; but what had the 
present generation to do with the parliamentary strata- 
gems of a past age ? Besides, the compromise measures 
of 1850 affirm and rest upon the proposition, c that all 
questions pertaining to slavery in the territories, and 
the new states to be formed therefrom, are to be left 
to the decision of the people residing therein, by their 
appropriate representatives, to be chosen by them for 
that purpose.'* According to this view of the subject, 
the Missouri Compromise of 1820 was over-ridden by 
Clay's omnibus measure of 1850, which was said to 
obliterate the line 36° SO' from the map. Neither 
branch of congress unanimously adopted so sweeping 
a doctrine. The progress of the bill, which speedily 
assumed a form for organising two territories, Kansas 
and Nebraska, was opposed at every step. Among the 
more energetic friends of freedom on this occasion, 
we see the name of Mr Seward (of New York), who, 
in the course of a long and able speech on the subject, 
made the following remarks : 

( I know there have been states which have endured 
long, and achieved much, which tolerated slavery ; but 
that was not the slavery of caste, like African slavery. 



* Report of Senate's Committee on Territories, in Reference to Nebraska, 
January 1853. 



THE KANSAS-NEBRASKA AFFAIR. 65 

Such slavery tends to demoralise equally the subjected 
race and the superior one. It has been the absence of 
such slavery from Europe that has given her nations 
their superiority over other countries in that hemi- 
sphere. Slavery, wherever it exists, begets fear, and 
fear is the parent of weakness. What is the secret of 
that eternal, sleepless anxiety in the legislative halls, 
and even at the firesides of the slave states, always 
asking new stipulations, new compromises and abroga- 
tion of compromises, new assumptions of power and 
abnegations of power, but fear ? It is the apprehension, 
that, even if safe now, they will not always or long be 
secure against some invasion or some aggression from 
the free states. What is the secret of the humiliating 
part which proud old Spain is acting at this day, 
trembling between alarms of American intrusion into 
Cuba on one side, and British dictation on the other, 
but the fact that she has cherished slavery so long and 
still cherishes it, in the last of her American colonial 
possessions ? Thus far Kansas and Nebraska are safe, 
under the laws of 1820, against the introduction of this 
element of national debility and decline. The bill 
before us, as we are assured, contains a great principle, 
a glorious principle ; and yet that principle, when fully 
ascertained, proves to be nothing less than the sub- 
version of that security, not only within the territories 
of Kansas and Nebraska, but within all the other 
present and future territories of the United States. 
Thus it is quite clear that it is not a principle alone 
that is involved, but that those who crowd this measure 
with so much zeal and earnestness must expect that 
either freedom or slavery shall gain something by it in 
those regions. The case, then, stands thus in Kansas 
and Nebraska : Freedom may lose, but certainly can 
gain nothing ; while slavery may gain, but as certainly 
can lose nothing.' 

E 



66 AMERICAN SLAVERY AND COLOUR. 

Again, expostulation was useless. The bill passed 
both branches of the legislature in May 1854, the 
majority, as customary on similar questions, being 
swelled by northern Whigs. An act was accordingly 
framed for organising Kansas and Nebraska as separate 
territories, with the whole apparatus of local govern- 
ment and legislation. The clause empowering the 
inhabitants to legalise or reject slavery, is given 
below.* The two territories being now fairly estab- 
lished, that kind of rush of settlers ensues which 
has been already pictured. In their choice, Nebraska 
appears to have been passed over in favour of Kansas, 
which, lying to the south, on the parallel 36° 30', 
immediately adjoining Missouri, drew crowds towards 
it; and, as is well known, became the object of a keen 
and disorderly competition between the southern slave- 
holding party and the free-soilers of the north. There 
was little time to spare. In the Old World, kingdoms 
and principalities have taken centuries to mature. The 
greater number, after a thousand years of social organ- 
isation, have not yet acquired so much as the capacity 
to keep order at a public meeting, let alone the power 
of self-government. Even the British monarchy, with 

* ' That the constitution, and all the laws of the United States not 
locally inapplicable, shall have the same force and effect within the 
territory of Kansas as elsewhere within the United States, except the eighth 
section of the act preparatory to the admission of Missouri into the Union, 
approved March 6, 1820, which being inconsistent with the principles of 
non-intervention by congress with slavery in the states and territories, as 
recognised by the legislation of 1850, commonly called the compromise 
measures, is hereby declared inoperative and void, it being the true intent 
and meaning of the act not to legislate slavery into any state or territory, or 
exclude it therefrom ; but to leave the people thereof perfectly free to form 
and regulate their domestic institutions in their own way, subject only to the 
constitution of the United States. Provided, that nothing herein contained 
shall be construed to revive or put in force any law or regulation which may 
have existed prior to the act of the 6th of March 1820, either protecting, 
establishing, prohibiting, or abolishing slavery.' 



THE KANSAS-NEBRASKA AFFAIR. 67 

all its appliances, seems to be unable to ripen its 
ordinary run of colonies under a period of some years 
— indeed, several of the more elderly of these com- 
munities are now, after long tutelage, only beginning 
to walk alone. The United States contrive to do the 
thing in a few weeks or months. Kansas was organised 
on the 30th of Mav 1854, and on the 29th of November 
following, it was to elect a delegate to represent it in 
congress. In the short intermediate period, cities, 
towns, and voting-places were to receive legal signifi- 
cance; though, as the materials of architecture were 
principally deals and canvas, this feat was perhaps no 
great stretch of genius. Previously to its organisation, 
the region had become a hopeful field of labour 
to several missionaries connected with one of the 
divisions of the Methodist body, which is known to 
have done good service in carrying a knowledge of 
religion into remote quarters of the Union. It is true 
these missionaries are often described as being coarse 
and illiterate, but such, perhaps, are the only men 
adapted for the rough circumstances that surround 
them in the backwoods and prairies. Whether to please 
the parties among whom they minister, or from other 
motives, it unfortunately happens that these missionaries 
do not scruple to advocate slavery in union with Scrip- 
tural doctrine, and so act as pioneers of a system of 
brutalising oppression, which is clearly at variance with 
every principle we are taught to revere. Among those 
who in this manner had set up their tabernacle in 
Kansas, was a somewhat renowned personage, the Rev. 
Tom Johnson, who is described as ultra coarse and 
presuming — a violent pro-slavery partisan, and a ready 
tool of those planters in Missouri who had an eye to 
the fertile plains of the territory. This worthy, whose 
head-quarters were at a place called the Shawnee 
Mission, a short way from the frontier, held slaves 



68 AMERICAN SLAVERY AND COLOUR. 

long before the organisation of Kansas — a circum- 
stance which helped materially forward the plan of 
introducing and holding slaves on a large scale. Of 
the Rev. Tom's clerical accomplishments, we possess 
no record. All we know is, that, located in a hulking 
brick building at Shawnee Mission, he was a leading 
man among those who charged themselves with enlight- 
ening the Shawnees, Delawares, Kaws, Sacs, Foxes, 
and other tribes of Indians, some of whom, as our 
authority states, already possessed in an ' eminent 
degree the marks of whisky civilisation.' * We do not 
learn that Tom kept a barrel to aid him in his labours ; 
but that is of no consequence. There were barrels at 
hand, and they were doing their usually horrid work 
on the unhappy Indians — a doomed race. The bill 
opening the territory to white immigration, provided 
that the natives should not be illegally deprived of their 
reserves; but no arrangement however humane, short 
of the annihilation of whisky, could sustain them in 
their possessions, and, unless removed, they were 
evidently destined to become beggars and plagues 
to society. A number, wisely ceding their lands on 
reasonable terms, were transferred to localities at a 
suitable distance, where they remain till a fresh wave 
of white immigration overtakes them. 

As the aborigines, half-demoralised, gloomily clear 
out, the whites pour in; land-offices are opened; 
' claims' begin to dot the face of the country ; and the 
cluster of ugly buildings at Shawnee Mission, becomes 
a rallying-point for the settlers. We are to view 
Kansas in this transition state in July 1854, when the 
contest between pro-slavery and anti-slavery emigrants 
comes distinctly into notice. According to the account 



* The Conquest of Kansas by Missouri and her Allies. By W. Phillips. 
Boston. 1856. 



THE KANSAS-NEBRASKA AFFAIR. 69 

of the pro-slavery Missourians, they were stung by 
newspaper reports that great bands of New Englanders 
would soon be on their way to introduce free institu- 
tions into Kansas. About this time, several joint- 
stock concerns were formed in the free states for this 
avowed purpose. One of them, called the New- 
England Emigrant Aid Company, with a capital stock 
of 5,000,000 dollars, was legalised by an act of 
incorporation from the legislature of Massachusetts. 
The plan proposed by the company was this : Agents 
were to buy lands in Kansas, and sell them in lots to 
immigrants, until the territory was organised as a free 
state; then, all funds being realised, and a dividend 
declared, the agents were to select a fresh field of 
operations in order to organise another free state. In 
short, it was a grand device to give free institutions 
to all the new territories, one after the other; and if 
unopposed, there could have been little doubt of its 
success. These projects alarmed the Missourians — at 
least, such is their story. It is, however, quite as 
clear that the pro-slavery men were, from the first, 
equally on the alert ; and we are to conclude that both 
parties had some time previously determined to run 
a race for the territory. The committee of congress 
which afterwards investigated the matter, states in its 
report, that ' within a few days after the organic law 
was passed, and as soon as its passage could be known 
on the border, leading citizens of Missouri crossed into 
the territory, held squatter meetings, and then returned 
to their homes. Among the resolutions are the follow- 
ing: That we will afford protection to no abolitionist 
as a settler of this territory : that we recognise the 
institution of slavery as already existing in this 
territory, and advise slaveholders to introduce their 
property as early as possible/ Then, early in July, 
a meeting of an association, having the same object in 



70 AMERICAN SLAVERY AND COLOUR. 

view, takes place at Westport, and resolves that it will 
hold itself in readiness to remove any and all emigrants 
who go into Kansas under the auspices of the Northern 
Emigrant Aid Societies. Thus, two opposite parties 
were distinctly pitted against each other. Had the 
Missourians confined themselves to the peaceful settle- 
ment of planters and slaves, no fault could be found 
with them under the constitution, however much, on 
moral grounds, we might have lamented their aggres- 
sions. But the pro-slaveryites went a step beyond their 
constitutional rights. Not contenting themselves with 
a plan of peaceful emigration, they resolved, as we 
have seen, to gain their ends by violence. One excuse 
for their outrages is, that in giving a charter of incor- 
poration to the New-England Emigrant Aid Company, 
the legislature of Massachusetts committed a trespass 
on the constitution; because no state is warranted in 
doing anything which will operate on the institutions 
of another state. For anything we can tell, this may 
have been an indiscreet and federally unlawful act; 
but, if such were the case, there was surely legal 
redress before the supreme courts of the Union. 
Nothing, in a word, can justify the Missourians in 
having armed themselves to oppose the settlement of 
the northern emigrants ; and for this they stand con- 
demned in the estimation of all right-thinking persons 
in Europe and America. 

A number of quietly disposed emigrants had begun 
to spread themselves on the banks of the Kaw, when 
they heard that they were to be attacked. They 
were discomposed, but not frightened, and stood 
their ground. It seems to be customary to give the 
inhabitants of many of the states certain nicknames, 
by which they are generally known. The natives of 
Illinois are called Suckers ; those of Indiana, Hoosiers ; 
and the Missourians receive the unpleasant name 



THE KANSAS-NEBRASKA AFFAIR. 71 

of Pukes. Well, the story ran in Kansas that the 
Pukes were coming, and soon a squad of them did 
make their appearance. Phillips, whose work presents 
the only intelligible narrative of the Kansas troubles 
that has fallen in our way, gives a graphic account 
of the Pukes, or ' border ruffians/ They are of several 
kinds. Those of the unadulterated type, are decided 
characters. ' Most of them/ he says, ' have been over 
the plains several times ; if they have not been over 
the plains, the probability is, they have served through 
the war in Mexico, or seen " a deal of trouble in 
Texas," or at least run up and down the Missouri 
river often enough to catch imitative inspiration from 
the catfish aristocracy. I have often wondered where 
all the hard customers on the Missouri frontier come 
from. They seem to have congregated here by some 
law of gravity unexplainable. Perhaps the easy 
exercise of judicial authority in frontier countries 
may explain their fancy for them. Amongst these 
worthies, a man is estimated by the amount of whisky 
he can drink ; and if he is so indiscreet as to admit 
he " drinks no liquor," he is set down as a dangerous 
character, and shunned accordingly. Imagine a fellow, 
tall, slim, but athletic, with yellow complexion, hairy 
faced, with a dirty flannel shirt, red, or blue, or 
green, a pair of common-place, but dark-coloured pants, 
tucked into an uncertain altitude by a leather-belt, in 
which a dirty-handled bowie-knife is stuck rather 
ostentatiously, an eye slightly whisky red, and teeth 
the colour of a walnut. Such is your border ruffian of 
the lowest type. His body might be a compound of 
gutta-percha, Johnny-cake, and badly smoked bacon ; 
his spirit, the refined part, old Bourbon, " double 
rectified;" but there is every shade of the border 
ruffian. Your judicial ruffian, for instance, is a 
gentleman ; that is, as much of a gentleman as he can 



72 AMERICAN SLAVERY AND COLOUR. 

be without transgressing on his more purely legitimate 
character of border ruffian. As " occasional imbibing " 
is not a sin, his character at home is irreproachable; 
and when he goes abroad into the territory, for 
instance, he does not commit any act of outrage, or 
vote himself, but after " aiding and comforting " those 
who do, returns, feeling every inch a gentleman. Then 
there are your less conservative border-ruffian gentlemen. 
They are not so nice in distinctions, and, so far from 
objecting, rather like to take a hand themselves; 
but they dress like gentlemen, and are so after a 
fashion. Between these and the first-mentioned large 
class, there is every shade and variety; but it takes 
the whole of them to make an effective brigade ; and 
then it is not perfect without a barrel of whisky. The 
two gentlemanly classes of ruffians are so for political 
effect, or because they fancy it is their interest. The 
lower class are pro-slavery ruffians, merely because 
it is the prevalent kind of rascality; the inference is, 
that they would engage in any other affair in which 
an equal amount of whisky might be drunk, or as 
great an aggregate of rascality be perpetrated. Such 
was the kind of customers who presented themselves to 
the astonished gaze of the early citizens of Lawrence, 
while it spread its tent-like butterfly wings, just 
emerging from its chrysalis state, on the banks of the 
Raw.' 

A description of the arrival of the Pukes is given 
with picturesque effect. ( They came in wagons, and 
were truly an " army with banners." Every wagon 
appeared to be supplied with a piece of cloth, which 
was patched something to represent a star, or other 
more mysterious border-ruffian symbols, and also a jug 
of whisky. They had a fiddler or two with them, their 
nearest approximation to " martial music". They 
might be styled the shot-gun, or backwoods' rifle, 



THE KANSAS-NEBRASKA AFFAIR. 73 

brigade. In a representation of the Forty Thieves, 
they would have been invaluable, with their grim 
visages, their tipsy expression, and, above all, their 
oaths and unapproachable swagger. As the first 
detachment only numbered eighty men, they took to 
the north side of the ravine which runs through town, 
this being the Rubicon between them and the Yankees. 
When there, they proceeded to swagger and drink, and 
shoot at marks, and swear by all that was good and 
bad that they would exterminate all the Yankee 
abolitionists that dare come to Kansas. Towards the 
evening of the day they came, a reinforcement of some 
twenty-five more arrived ; but they either did not 
deem themselves strong enough yet, or had adopted 
some plan of operations requiring delay.' Some 
diplomatic intercourse follows, but there was as yet no 
fighting. The New Englanders would not give way, 
and ultimately the border ruffians retired. 

The two principal officers appointed by the pre- 
sident to initiate the territorial government, were 
A. H. Reeder, as governor, and S. D. Lecompte, as 
chief-justice. Reeder was evidently not the man for 
the situation. He arrived in October, and the election 
of a delegate to congress took place, as has been said, 
on the 29th of November. At this election, Whitfield, 
the pro-slavery candidate, was returned; but the 
majority in his favour was increased by 1729 illegal 
votes, given by bands of men who crossed the frontier 
from Missouri — another act totally unjustifiable. The 
report of the committee of congress declares it to 
have been e a systematic invasion from an adjoining 
state, by which large numbers of illegal votes were 
cast in remote and sparse settlements, for the avowed 
purpose of extending slavery into the territory,' and 
which, f even though it did not change the result of 
the election, was a crime of great magnitude. Its 



74 AMERICAN SLAVERY AND COLOUR. 

immediate effect was to further excite the people 
of the northern states, induce acts of retaliation, and 
exasperate the actual settlers against their neighbours 
in Missouri/ * 

Dire events followed, but we must leave an account 
of them to next chapter. 

* According to Phillips, the intruders represented only a faction in 
Missouri ; large numbers in that state repudiated their proceedings, but from 
the terrorism that prevailed, were unable to interfere. ' Although,' says 
this authority, ' Missouri is a slave state, slavery is chiefly to be found in a 
few counties, and even there the large majority of the white men are not 
slave- owners. They are men who have come from all states of the Union, 
some of them enterprising business-men, who, in advancing their private 
interests, have still a reasonable pride in those liberties and privileges 
guaranteed to them by the constitution, and bought by the blood of the 
early patriots. But freedom of speech is suppressed as thoroughly as ever 
it was in the days of the Inquisition. Not only is the subject of slavery 
itself interdicted, but all opinions growing out of it, or that might haply 
endanger it, are forbidden.' An organisation of secret lodges compels silence 
and passive obedience. ' An election is to be carried ; and if there is not a 
sufficient number of rowdies to engage in it, from a natural love of mischief, 
and an acquired love of liquor, why, more respectable men must go. And 

if they do not go, they must at least pay the expenses of those who do 

Not a whisper must be breathed against this cruel taxation, or else the 
luckless wight, whose love of principle (or parsimony) made him object, 
would be subjected to a loss of caste, to which the condition of an Indian 
Pariah is a happy one. The following speech, delivered by General String- 
fellow, in St Joseph, Missouri, at a public meeting where he was sustained 
and indorsed, will ! tell something of the story : " I tell you to mark every 
scoundrel among you who is the least tainted with abolitionism or free-soilism, 
and exterminate him. Neither give nor take quarter from the .... rascals. 
I propose to mark them in this bouse, and on the present occasion ; so you may 
crush them out. To those who have qualms of conscience as to violating 
laws, state or national, the time has come when such impositions must be 
disregarded, as your rights and property are in danger. I advise you, one 
and all, to enter every election district in Kansas, in defiance of Keeder and 
his vile myrmidons, and vote at the point of the bowie-knife and revolver. 
Neither give nor take quarter, as the cause demands it. It is enough that the 
slaveholding interest wills it, from which there is no appeal."' — Phillips, 
p. 47. 



THE STRUGGLE IN KANSAS. 

The election of a delegate to congress, from the terri- 
tory of Kansas, in November 1854, was followed, as 
has been said, by dire events. The free settlers were 
indignant at the unauthorised voting of pro-slavery 
men from Missouri, and the Missourians endeavoured 
by acts of outrage to intimidate and expel the 
settlers. Violence, however, had not yet attained its 
climax. The great struggle was to take place on the 
30th of March 1855, when the inhabitants were to 
choose a legislature. Preparatory to this event, 
Governor Reeder caused a census to be taken of the 
population, which was found to consist of 8501 souls. 
This number included the unenfranchised part of the 
community, 242 slaves and 151 free negroes; those 
entitled to vote amounting to 2905. 

As the great day approached, parties of Missourians 
entered the territory, and planted themselves at every 
polling-place, with the avowed design of voting for 
candidates who would make Kansas a slave state. As 
many as 5000 of these desperadoes, equipped with 
arms, and bringing tents and provisions, thus took 
their ground, resolved to commit a grossly illegal act, 
by representing themselves as actual inhabitants of 
the territory. As there is not usually any register 
of voters in the States, where elections are often a 
kind of scramble — the very sheriffs, on such occasions, 
lending themselves to party purposes — it is not 
difficult for bands of resolute individuals to carry 
everything as they please. Even in the city of New 
York, at the last election, as is stated by the local 



76 AMERICAN SLAVERY AND COLOUR. 

press, parties of rowdies floated from polling-place to 
polling-place, and cast votes at them all, in order to 
return their favourite candidate. How much more 
easily could such infamous proceedings occur in the 
wildernesses of Kansas ! 

Well, the election takes place. Notwithstanding 
threats of personal violence, the settlers came pretty 
freely forward ; but of what avail against the host of 
intruders ? On examination, it was found that the 
number of legal voters was 1310, and of illegal voters, 
4908. With the exception of two, all the members 
returned were pro-slavery men, and a number of them 
were residents in Missouri. It being the duty of the 
governor to receive the returns, and grant certificates 
to enable members to assume office, Eeeder, after, 
as is alleged, investigating each case, set aside the 
election in seven disputed districts, thus creating 
two vacancies in the council, and nine in the house of 
representatives. He issued a certificate, besides, to 
one member of council and one member of the house, 
not the individuals whom the judges of the election 
had returned. To all the remainder, consisting of 
eleven councilmen, and seventeen representatives, he 
granted certificates. On his ordering a new election 
to be held on the 24th of May for filling up the 
vacancies, the pro-slavery party broke into a storm of 
indignation. They declared that no special election 
was valid under the organic law; they resolved to 
disown the authority of the present one, and vowed 
vengeance against iteeder and all who adhered to him. 
Without waiting for the new election, the governor, 
in April, issued his proclamation, summoning the 
legislature to meet at Pawnee City — a cluster of 
tents and deals about a hundred miles from the frontier 
— on the 2d of July. 

At the May election, there was little disturbance, 



THE STRUGGLE IN KANSAS. 77 

and the free-soilers had almost everything their own 
way; the result being the return of a number of new 
members, to whom the governor granted certificates. 
There were now, as we may say, double returns, some 
apparently valid, others the reverse. No proceedings, 
however, were founded on this point till the 
assemblage of the two houses, when, on the third day 
of the session, a committee made a report respecting 
disputed elections. Not to go into tiresome minutise, 
the result of the inquiry was, to deprive of his seat 
one of the members whom the governor had certified 
in March, and to turn out six members certified under 
the election in May — the effect of the whole being to 
restore affairs to nearly that position in which they 
had been placed by the outrageous intrusion of the 
Missourians in March. E-eeder, it may be presumed, 
had now an opportunity of repudiating a legislature 
so vitiated by its own act, but, as previously hinted, 
though a man of good intentions, he was scarcely fitted 
for controlling the wild democracy over whom he was 
called to rule. One of the earliest projects started 
in the house of representatives was the removal of 
the seat of legislature to Shawnee Mission, near the 
borders of Missouri; and a bill to this effect was sent 
to the governor, who, on the 6th of July, returned 
it with a message declining to sanction the proposed 
change. His reason was, that the legislature had 
transcended its authority in adopting this particular 
measure ; but in making this communication, he 
distinctly recognised the council and house of repre- 
sentatives as constituting the legislature of the territory 
of Kansas. As may be supposed, the legislative body 
paid no attention to the governor's objections, and 
accordingly removed, on the 16th of July, to a school- 
house at Shawnee Mission. Still, the governor by 
messages respecting bills continued to recognise the 



78 AMERICAN SLAVERY AND COLOUR. 

authority of the legislature, although at the same time, 
on the 21st of July, he declared that, by the act of 
removal, the two houses were dissolved, and henceforth 
he suspended all intercourse with them. We are 
conscious that these are dry details, but being gathered 
chiefly from a report of congress respecting the 
struggle in Kansas, and freed from party exaggerations, 
they throw a useful light over what has become a 
question of deep interest connected with the progress 
of slavery. Up to the point we have reached, the 
Missouri intruders were decidedly in the wrong; the 
denunciations in their newspapers and speeches at 
the public meetings were atrocious — language which 
we could not possibly transfer to these pages. But 
unfortunately, Reeder, in whose hands was the destiny 
of Kansas, compromised freedom. His recognition of 
the corrupt legislature on the 21st of July, was a grave 
blunder; for in a legal point of view (as we humbly 
assume), no subsequent repudiation of that body could 
deprive it of an authority he had already acknowledged. 
The false position taken by Reeder was greedily seized 
hold of by his antagonists, who, as an explanation of 
his conduct, alleged that his preference for Pawnee 
arose from the fact of his having town-lots to dispose 
of in that quarter. Whatever truth may be in the 
scandal circulated on the occasion, there can be no 
doubt, if we are to believe Phillips, that Shawnee was 
a much more agreeable place of meeting than Pawnee. 
'At the Mission, the legislature were at home; that 
is, they were nearly so. It was only one mile from the 
Missouri line, and four miles from Westport. Hacks 
left the Mission every evening, on the adjournment, 
taking the members to Westport, and brought them 
back in the morning. And such splendid junketings 
and racketings these fellows had ! A due supply of 
whisky was brought in bottles and jugs each morning, 



THE STRUGGLE IN KANSAS. 79 

in order to keep the legislature in spwits during the 
long summer days.' 

Having set to work, the Bogus legislature, as this 
body is usually designated, speedily produced a code 
of laws connected with ' slave property/ such as the 
world has not seen for many a day. The following are 
a few of the penalties : To any person concerned in 
raising an insurrection among slaves, or free coloured 
persons — death. To any person who shall entice, 
decoy, or carry away any slave from the territory 
— death, or imprisonment for ten years with hard 
labour. To any person who shall entice or persuade 
a slave to escape from his master — imprisonment for 
ten years with hard labour. To any person resisting 
an officer who attempts to arrest an escaped slave — 
imprisonment with hard labour for two years. The 
following sections are too good to abridge : 

' If any person print, write, introduce into, or cir- 
culate, or cause to be brought into, written, printed, 
or circulated, or shall knowingly aid or assist in 
bringing into, printing, publishing, or circulating 
within this territory, any book, paper, pamphlet, 
magazine, handbill, or circular containing any state- 
ments, arguments, opinions, sentiment, doctrine, advice, 
or innuendo calculated to produce a disorderly, dan- 
gerous, or rebellious disaffection among the slaves of 
the territory, or to induce such slaves to escape from 
the service of their masters, or to resist their authority, 
he shall be guilty of felony, and be punished by 
imprisonment at hard labour for a term not less than 
five years. If any free person, by speaking or writing, 
assert or maintain that persons have not the right 
to hold slaves in this territory, or shall introduce 
into this territory, print, publish, write, circulate, 
or cause to be introduced into the territory, written, 
printed, published, and circulated in this territory 



80 AMERICAN SLAVERY AND COLOUR. 

any book, paper, magazine, pamphlet, or circular, 
containing any denial of the right of persons to hold 
slaves in this territory, such person shall be deemed 
guilty of felony, and punished by imprisonment at 
hard labour for a term of not less than two years. 
No person who is conscientiously opposed to holding 
slaves, or who does not admit the right to hold slaves 
in this territory, shall sit as a juror on the trial of any 
prosecution for any violation of any of the sections 
of this act/ This extraordinary code was subscribed by 
J. H. Stringfellow as Speaker of the House, and Thomas 
Johnson (the Rev. Tom), President of the Council. 

The bills passed by the Bogus legislature being, as a 
matter of form, submitted to Reeder for his sanction, 
he transmitted a message in reply, stating that his 
opinion remained unchanged respecting the illegality 
of that body, but that independently of this fact, he 
had received official intimation that his functions as 
governor were withdrawn. The latter part of this 
reply was probably anticipated ; for the legislature had 
memorialised the president to remove the governor 
from office; nor can we feel any surprise at his 
dismissal. Will it be credited — his message just 
alluded to (August 16) was still addressed 'To the 
honourable the members of the council and house 
of representatives of the territory of Kansas'* — an 
acknowledgment of their authority at variance with his 
repeated declarations, and greatly calculated to com- 
plicate the whole question. Amidst these difficulties, 
the Bogus legislature obtained an opinion from Judge 
Lecompte, to the effect, that the bills passed would 
receive the force of law without the signature of the 
governor, and so they appear to have actually come 
into operation. 

* Majority Report of Committee of Congress. March 1856. 



THE STRUGGLE IN KANSAS. 81 

Reeder, who now withdrew into private life, was 
replaced by Governor Shannon, who was declared to 
be ' sound on the goose' — that is, in favour of slavery 
in the territory — and who, in general character, was no 
improvement on his predecessor. Indignant at being 
subjected to laws which they believed to rest on no 
proper authority, and exposed to personal sufferings 
from the Missourians, the citizens of Kansas spent the 
summer of 1855 in a state of extreme agitation. The 
proper means for redress lay in a calm appeal to 
congress. They did memorialise that body on the 
subject of their grievances ; and ultimately a committee 
inquired into and reported on the subject at volu- 
minous length. Without, however, waiting for the 
action of the supreme government, the citizens of 
Kansas held mass-meetings denunciatory of their 
oppressors, and went the extreme length of appointing 
a governor, C. Robinson, to 'occupy the executive 
chair of the new state of Kansas/ Under this official 
took place an entirely new organisation of the territory 
—alleged by the parties concerned to be exactly in 
terms of the constitution, but considered by the 
supreme government as totally irregular and inadmis- 
sible. The people in the several districts elected 
delegates, with perfect seriousness, to constitute a con- 
vention, or rival body to the Bogus legislature; and on 
the meeting of the assembly on the 19th of September 
at Topeka, a message was delivered from "Governor 
Robinson/ which would have done no discredit to the 
president of the United States. 

Looking at the acts and resolutions of the Topeka 
convention, it was decidedly the better legislature of 
the two. Considering the nature of its materials, and 
the circumstances calling it into existence, one cannot 
but feel amazed at the cool and business-like way in 
which it set aside the whole proceedings of the Bogus 



82 AMERICAN SLAVERY AND COLOUR. 

assembly, drew up a constitution, organised committees 
on education and other affairs, and appointed an 
executive for the territory. None but an American, 
however, can do justice to its character. l This consti- 
tutional convention,' says Phillips, ' was by far the most 
respectable body of men in point of talent, that was 
convened in Kansas ; indeed, it would have compared 
favourably with legislative bodies anywhere. Talent, 
and the weak vanity which apes it, were there; 
true virtue, and a more plastic school of morality; 
patriotism, and number-one-ism ; outside influence, 
and a lobby; sober, staid, business habits; brandy, 
temperance, whisky, prayers by the chaplain, profanity 
and oyster-suppers. It lacked none of the great 
essentials.' Taken all in all, it was an honourable 
body, with the usual sprinkling of skilful politicians, 
who knew how to indoctrinate an infant community 
with the principles of party manoeuvring. 

There were now two rival parliaments in Kansas, 
each thundering forth laws ; but of what use are all the 
laws in the world, if there is nobody to execute them ? 
Even in despotic countries, it is the people who control 
the people. The Bogus legislature of Kansas was an 
exotic, the governor an exotic, and the judges and 
sheriffs exotics : the people repudiated the whole con- 
cern, and defied them. There being, properly speaking, 
neither law nor government, and outrages being of 
daily occurrence, the settlers got up secret military 
organisations, the chief of these being called the Kansas 
Legion — a kind of Vehmgericht, holding mysterious 
meetings, and the members of which recognised each 
other by peculiar signs. To counteract these move- 
ments, and aid the Bogus legislature, the pro-slavery 
men held what they called a 'Law and Order Con- 
vention' at Leavenworth on the 14th of November; 
and of this professed auxiliary of the constituted 



THE STRUGGLE IN KANSAS. 83 

authorities, Governor Shannon was appointed presi- 
dent. From this period may be dated the condition of 
anarchy in Kansas. At all points, there was open 
defiance between the two parties. Of the fights, 
slaughterings, burning of houses, destruction and 
stealing of property, and personal outrages of every 
kind, we are fortunately spared from giving any 
account, as ample details of the atrocities committed 
by the border ruffians have been made widely known, 
and more particularly as that greatest atrocity of all, 
the burning and sacking of the city of Lawrence, in 
May 1856, must be fresh in every one's recollection. 
By Mrs Robinson, wife of Governor Robinson, who 
was carried away a prisoner, a circumstantial and 
graphic account of the troubles in Kansas has been 
given to the world. 

In July 1856, the Topeka convention was brought 
to a termination by order of Colonel Sumner,* at the 
head of a troop of dragoons, despatched by the supreme 
government to suppress the insurrections in the terri- 
tory. With the interruption of the free-state convention, 
the seizure of some prisoners, and the occupancy of 
Kansas by the federal forces, the territory was substan- 
tially handed over to the Missourians. How far the 
president was justified in sending an army into Kansas, 
has been matter of much angry discussion; his pro- 
ceedings in this respect, while ostensibly designed to 
keep the peace, had the effect of vindicating the 
conduct of the Missourian intruders, and leaving the 
actual settlers helpless. The subject, it will be recol- 
lected, brought congress to a dead-lock at the end of 
August 1856, when an appropriation for the army 
required to be voted. On this occasion, the members 



* Meetings of the Topeka convention took place subsequently, but not to 
any good purpose. 



84 AMERICAN SLAVERY AND COLOUR. 

of the House of Representatives from the free states 
had it in their power to stop the supplies, and thus 
withdraw the army from Kansas. This grand chance 
of historical renown was not embraced. By a majority 
of 101 to 98, the vote for appropriation was ultimately 
carried — 21 members from free states being numbered 
in the majority. 

Under Governor Geary, Kansas has latterly been 
tranquil, and things may be said to be mending. But 
the laws of the Bogus legislature, which impose and 
bolster up slavery, remain in force. It is only barely 
possible that they may be abolished, and a new order 
of things introduced by congress. Some New York 
newspapers, we observe, are recommending free- 
state emigrants to proceed to the territory, which 
presents cheap and fertile lands for settlement; and, 
considering the mighty stake at issue, we are not 
surprised that fresh attempts should be made to pour 
in an independent class of settlers. He would ill 
understand the nature of the struggle in Kansas, who 
supposed it to relate solely to the freedom of that 
territory. No doubt, that was the great and proximate 
object ; but when we say that by making Kansas free, 
slavery would be checked in its north-western flank, 
and receive a severe blow throughout its whole system, 
the character of that desperate life-and-death struggle, 
which we have faintly portrayed, will perhaps be better 
understood. By way of a final settlement, possibly, 
some one on whom has dropped the mantle of Henry 
Clay, may propose a new Compromise ! 

In judging of past events in this unhappy territory, 
a sense of impartiality obliges us to say that all parties 
were in the wrong. Congress committed in the first 
place a grievous wrong, by instituting squatter sove- 
reignty in direct opposition to the Missouri Compromise. 
Pierce seems to have done wrong throughout, in his 



THE STRUGGLE IN KANSAS. 85 

invariable leaning to the pro-slavery party, and so 
encouraging their aggressions. Then, as regards the 
two local parties, wrong was met with wrong, illegality 
by illegality. The intrusions of the border ruffians 
were in every point of view iniquitous; but the free- 
soil settlers, though grossly insulted and oppressed, did 
surely wrong in inaugurating an irregular legislative 
convention, and in trying to support their plans by 
secret military organisations. As for Heeder, the 
central figure in the group of wrong-doers, he, by his 
incorrigible folly, rendered confusion worse confounded 
— a fine instance of what mischief may be done by 
good easy men, when placed in circumstances demand- 
ing vigour of character. For all these complications of 
wrong, of which no one can yet see the end, the more 
peaceful and honestly disposed immigrants to Kansas 
paid a heavy penalty. Their sufferings were acute, 
their losses ruinous. Of the deplorable condition to 
which their agricultural operations were reduced, we 
could advance no more convincing proof than that 
which above all things shocks the sensibility of an 
American — white women were seen labouring in the 
fields ! 



MANOEUVRING. 

Squatter sovereignty ! — shall it exist or not, is the 
question which for half a century has perplexed and 
demoralised American statesmanship, and will do so 
apparently for some time to come. Calhoun is said 
to have been the first to use the term e squatter 
sovereignty ' in joke, though no joke has it proved to 
congress ; but Cass is alleged to have had the high 
merit of giving it a place in serious parliamentary 
nomenclature, and so conferring upon it an air of 
official respectability. We do not absolutely pledge 
ourselves as to the authorship of either of these 
distinguished statesmen ; nor does it much matter. 
Squatter sovereignty is no new thing. We have 
referred to it again and again as the alleged right of 
the inhabitants of the newly organised territories of 
the Union to make choice of their own institutions. 
How that choice is for the most part a foregone 
conclusion, as regards slavery, is already explained. 
An early rush of planters with their slaves usually 
settles the business, before the more slow-moving and 
freedom-loving emigrants enter on the scene. Yet, 
the fiction is still contended for in congress, that the 
inhabitants are entitled to exercise precisely the same 
right of assuming or rejecting slavery as are the 
citizens of any of the constituted states. 

People who do not keep quite abreast of great 
social questions, probably imagine that the contest 
about slavery in the United States refers to emanci- 
pation or non-emancipation. Except by the incon- 
siderable party of abolitionists, the struggle has not 



MANOEUVRING. 87 

got within e a long chalk J of this ultimatum. The 
past and present subject of debate, is what is to be 
done with the territories, which are from time to 
time absorbed into the Union. The South, which has 
the knack of carrying statesmen and presidents along 
with it — no matter where these personages are ( raised' 
— argues strongly in favour of squatter sovereignty; 
for the good reason, that it can fabricate pro-slavery 
squatters to any desired amount. The North, on the 
other hand, which talks heroically about freedom in 
its Faneuil Halls, its Tabernacles, and what not, and 
is clear that at least all territories on the northern 
side of 36° 30' should be for ever free from slavery, 
cuts a poor figure when it comes to voting. In plain 
terms, it allows itself to be mystified — sends, among 
a few brilliant exceptions, so many self-interested 
persons to congress, that all 'who are not identified 
with cotton or democracy are naturally disgusted ' * — 
and thus, to end the matter, the South gets pretty 
nearly always its own way. 

Ever since the battle of the territories began, nearly 
forty years ago, there has been a continual reckoning 
of gains and losses between South and North. On 
our conscience, we believe that the question of slavery 
has never, as a general rule, been seriously entertained 
by the great northern orators in congress. The thing 
which was really fought for — as, for example, in the 
magnificent speeches of Webster — was political power. 
If the South, with the peculiar energy it has usually 
employed, were to secure a disproportionately large 
number of states, the North would relatively sink in 
its member-creating capacity; and losing in members, 
it would lose in chances of place as well as of the 



* Whig Policy Analysed and Illustrated. By Josiah Quincy. Boston. 
1856. 



88 AMERICAN SLAVERY AND COLOUR. 

many good things which issue from the federal 
treasury. Unless one is pretty well ' posted up ' in 
the history of these party manoeuvres, he can hardly 
comprehend the actual merits of the squatter 
sovereignty discussions. 

Slavery, once simply a social and seemingly 
temporary evil, has, through the course of events, of 
which we have presented a summary, become a great 
political institute, within which is intrenched an 
oligarchy that holds the balance of power, and is, 
in effect, the government. Undoubtedly, the primary 
cause of this preponderance is the constitution of the 
United States, which is eminently conservative of 
slavery, and, as usually interpreted, has afforded 
reasons for greatly extending this odious institution. 
In that constitutional arrangement alone, whereby 
slaves form an element in apportioning the ratio 
of representative population, a ground was laid 
for the political aggrandisement of the South. As 
formerly stated, three-fifths of all the slaves in the 
United States are numbered in the constituency for 
the House of Representatives, though not one of 
them has a vote. Three out of every five slaves in 
the South, are thus equivalent to three freemen in 
the North ; and practically, by this singular method 
of making up a constituency, the South is able to 
send upwards of twenty members to the House of 
Representatives beyond what it ought properly to be 
entitled to do. 

It is worthy of remark, however, that, notwith- 
standing this remarkable advantage, the South is not 
able to keep pace with northern constituencies. By 
the last decennial census, on which the present repre- 
sentation is based, while the free states contribute 145 
members, the slave states return no more than 90. 
How, then, being in such a minority, is the South able 



MANOEUVRING. 89 

to exert so extraordinary an influence in the national 
legislature? The explanation involves some strange 
disclosures. In the first place, the South uniformly 
acts with an esprit du corps totally wanting in the 
North. The constituency of the slave states is, in 
point of fact, narrowed to ahout 350,000 slave-owners, 
in whom power is entirely reposed ; the surplus of 
southern white population being little better than a 
nonentity. A body so limited acts with a vigour and 
unity not to be attained by the many millions of 
northern freemen. Throughout the South, free labour 
is dishonourable, and the business of life is politics : 
the universal consideration is the attainment and 
retention of power. The North, on the contrary, is 
a hive of industry, in which there is little time to 
devote to political stratagems, and unfortunately the 
people, generally, are so much under the dominion 
of material interests, as well as prejudices respecting 
colour, as to be easily misled by deceptive party 
representations. 

Accustomed as we are to associate slavery and its 
multifarious horrors with the doings of the South, 
one is apt to neglect the important truth, that but 
for the selfish compromises of the North, slavery must 
long since have been extinct. No fact has been more 
conclusively proved than that the existence of this 
monster evil depends on territorial aggression. Seclude 
it within a certain circle, and it will inevitably perish. 
Slavery is synonymous with waste. It is a waste of 
human beings, a waste of means, a waste of land, a 
waste of moral feeling — everything deteriorates in 
connection with it. As an institution, it has drawn 
its vitality from the rich lands lying beyond the 
borders of the Old Dominion. The most striking 
evidence of its ruinous effects on land, as well 
as morals, is given by Mr Olmsted in his two 



90 AMERICAN SLAVERY AND COLOUR. 

dispassionately written works on the slave states. In 
the latest of these productions, A Journey through 
Texas, he speaks of that frequent and melancholy 
spectacle in the older slave states — f an abandoned 
plantation of " worn-out " fields, with its little village 
of dwellings, now a home only for wolves and vultures.' 
' This/ he adds, ' but indicates a large class of observ- 
ations, by which I hold myself justified in asserting 
that the natural elements of wealth in the soil of Texas 
will have been more exhausted in ten years, and with 
them the rewards offered by Providence to labour 
will have been more lessened than, without slavery, 
would have been the case in two hundred. Do not 
think that I use round numbers carelessly. After 
two hundred years' occupation of similar soils by 
a free labouring community, I have seen no such 
evidences of waste, as in Texas, after ten years of 
slavery. And indications of the same kind I have 
observed, not isolated, but general, in every slave 
state but two — which I have seen only in parts yet 
scarcely at all settled. Moreover, I have seen similar 
phenomena following slavery in other countries and 
other climates. 7 

The effects of this wastefulness of land, are of 
national concern. Present existence is secured by 
drawing on future resources. To after generations, 
bread, meat, cotton, and other articles will all be 
enhanced in cost by the present system of territorial 
exhaustion. e I consider,' adds this writer, c that 
slavery is no less disastrous in its effects on industry 
- — no less destructive to wealth. The laws and forces 
sustaining it, where it has been long established, 
may become a temporary necessity, as poisons are 
to the life of some unfortunate invalids. But laws 
intended to extend its field of improvidence are 
unjust, cruel, and oppressive.' If slavery be so 



MAN(EUVRING. 91 

ruinous, why should it be continued? It is tolerably 
evident that the buying of labourers, instead of hiring 
them, must be a most extravagant method of culti- 
vating lands. Olmsted shews how capital is needlessly 
absorbed by investments in slaves, and that on this 
account alone, the South deprives itself of vast means 
of improvement. But independently of the profits 
derived by Virginians in raising and selling slave-stock, 
there are powerful reasons why slavery is maintained 
and contended for. 

The first of these reasons is the inordinate love of 
power. Reared in the uncontrolled exercise of autho- 
rity, the slave-owner will submit to many inconveniences 
and even loss of profit, rather than tolerate what he 
considers the arrogance of an independent labourer. 
To ask a servant to do a thing instead of ordering him, 
is intolerable. The idea of hired labourers presuming 
to have rights, is repugnant to southern notions. Those 
who degrade themselves with labour, are bound to sub- 
mit to any kind of treatment. The reckless homicide 
of a waiter at Washington by a member of congress 
from Alabama, in the spring of 1856, was, for example, 
justified by southern newspapers, on the ground that 
it was proper to teach free labourers their place. An- 
other reason for sustaining slavery, is the status which 
is derived from the possession of negro property. The 
owning of even one slave raises a person in southern 
society, although the possessor of this miserable piece 
of property is under the necessity of hiring it out for 
his own subsistence. Addressing a southern man, 
Olmsted says : l It is fashionable with you to own 
slaves, as it is with the English to own land, with 
the Arabs, horses ; and as beads and vermilion have 
a value among the Indians which seems to us absurd, 
so, among you, has the power of commanding the 
service of slaves. Consequently, you are willing to 



92 AMERICAN SLAVERY AND COLOUR. 

pay a price for it which, to one not educated as you 
have been, seems absurdly high. Nor are you more 
likely to dispense with slaves when you have it in 
your power to possess them, than the Chinese with 
their fashion of the queue, Turks with their turban, 
or Englishmen with their hats/ 

Wrong in principle, and in all respects ineconomical, 
as compared with free labour, slavery is on all hands 
acknowledged to exist only by fraud and violence, 
by disregard of the rights of citizens, by suppress- 
ing freedom of discussion and freedom of election, 
by preventing general education, by interrupting and 
annoying commerce, by exhausting lands, dishonouring 
industry, checking public improvements, degrading 
the national character, and, in short, by establishing 
an almost universal terrorism, unworthy of a free 
people. The dexterity with which these enormities 
has been sustained, is exceedingly marvellous. A few 
facts must be plainly stated. Practically a despotism, 
the great slaveholding interest, with far-sighted policy, 
professes those extreme principles of democracy which 
are upheld by the larger proportion of northern 
citizens — much as if the high conservative body in 
England were, for party purposes, to declare for ex- 
treme radicalism. Northern men, on the other hand, 
seek to conciliate the South, for the sake of selfish 
interests. The doctrine that high protective duties are 
an essential element of national prosperity, though long 
since exploded by political economists, is still current 
in the northern states of the Union. Doubtless, it is 
only through the efficacy of such protective duties as 
30 per cent., that certain northern manufacturers 
can keep open their establishments ; and we may 
assume that if these restrictions were removed, much 
misdirected capital would flow into more natural 
channels, and produce results more advantageous to 



MANOEUVRING. 93 

all parties. Northern manufacturers, however, being 
the immediate gainers by so preposterous a system of 
protection, cling as closely to the privilege of taxing 
the community as ever did the landowners of Great 
Britain by their restrictions on the free import of food. 
Such prepossessions could meet with no response in 
the South, but for the necessity of buying party sup- 
port. All the clothing, shoes, hats, and other articles 
required on southern plantations, are imported coast- 
wise from northern manufacturers ; so that, in reality, 
the South taxes itself in an enormous sum annually, in 
purchasing dear northern goods. ' Up to the present 
moment,' says an American writer, f the North has been 
a commercial and equal partner with the South in all 
the material values or pecuniary results produced by 
slavery. In the first place, the great southern staples, 
cotton, tobacco, and rice, with their vast valuation, 
constituting virtually the commercial currency between 
America and Europe, have mostly passed through the 
hands of northern merchants and factors, enriching 
them with lucrative profits. Then, slavery rendered 
the southern states dependent upon the North for all 
the manufactured articles they used ; from parlour 
books to kitchen brooms; from beaver-hats for the 
master to the coarsest chip-hats for the slave ; from 
penknives to ploughs. Nearly all the goods they 
used were either manufactured or imported for them 
by the North. Their teas, coffees, and other foreign 
productions either came to them through New York, 
Philadelphia, or Boston, or were brought to them 
direct from across the sea in northern ships. The 
factories and ships of the eastern states and the fertile 
prairie lands of the west, teemed with the industrial 
activities which these important staples employed and 
rewarded. What three millions of slaves grew under 
the lash in the South, made a continuous and profitable 



94 AMERICAN SLAVERY AND COLOUR. 

business for at least twice that number of freemen in 
the North. The latter, by that species of compromise 
for which it has been distinguished, grasped at the 
lion's share of the dividends of this commercial part- 
nership. It coveted to sell to the southern states, 
far more than it purchased from them. If they would 
only consent to a high protective tariff, which would 
give their market for manufactures exclusively to the 
North, anti-slavery agitation in the free states should 
be put down and extinguished. The mobbing of 
"abolition agitators" in Boston, New York, Phila- 
delphia, and other northern cities, was a part of this 
business transaction — a small instalment of the pur- 
chase-price of protection.'* The case then stands thus : 
the South pretends to be democratic, to gain northern 
votes ; and the North sells itself for public money. Or, 
to come to the subject in hand — the South votes for 
Protection, and the North in return votes for Slavery. 

Slavery, at least on its present footing, may there- 
fore be said to exist, in some degree, on commercial 
protection. It is not to be supposed that the South is 
unanimous in submitting to this thraldom to northern 
interests. At the risk of breaking up the mutual 
understanding, southern orators and newspapers have 
strongly advocated free-trade with Europe, and numer- 
ous have been the projects to establish southern 
harbours, shipping, and commerce — all, of course, 
impracticable, on account of want of capital as well 
as want of business calculations and habits. Did the 
South really find it safe to break with the North, it 
would, perhaps, with its legislative influence find little 
difficulty in forcing free-trade measures ; and from 
present appearances, acts of congress may take this 
direction. 

* Plan of Brotherly Copartnership. By Elihu Burritt. 



MAN(EUVRING. 95 

It can admit of little doubt, that as protection is 
relaxed, so will a material cement between North and 
South be dissolved — an event so far favourable to the 
interests of freedom. But as long as the principles of 
democracy are in the ascendant, the anti-slavery party 
will not have great cause to rejoice. According to the 
confession of political faith, demonstrated in recent 
elections, democracy signifies the vindication of squatter 
sovereignty, the boundless extension of the Union, and 
consequently the illimitable addition of new slave 
states. Can such principles be carried out? Are 
they not of a character with all that has been tolerated 
since the acquisition of Louisiana? It is confidently 
expected that the rising and somewhat formidable 
opposition presented by the republican party, will 
interpose to prevent the further spread of slavery. 
Eut this, we fear, is only one of those idle expecta- 
tions, with which the less sophisticated part of the 
nation has been long deceitfully amused. The South 
has many methods of disarming opposition. It can 
threaten dissolution of the Union, and that few can 
endure; for devotion to the Union is a predominant 
sentiment with almost every American. By its vigorous 
action, the South can retain possession of power, and 
so effectually swamp the majority of free-state votes 
in congress by dispensation of place, that it laughs 
to scorn the still unpopular efforts of disunionists 
and abolitionists. 

Referring to the change of sentiment on the subject 
of slavery in the North, Mr Quincy, whom we have 
already quoted, shews how, step by step, the principles 
of freedom have sunk under party influences. Soon 
after the adoption of the constitution, he says, 'a 
change of feeling began to spread in the free states, 
in which, from envy, jealousy, rivalry, ambition, and 
other passions, parties arose, of which the slaveholders 



9G AMERICAN SLAVERY AND COLOUR. 

had the tact to avail themselves It was 

the mutual interest which resulted from the alliance 
between slavery and democracy, that at first softened, 
and in time changed, in Massachusetts, the early, 
inherent detestation of negro slavery. This change 
did not extend beyond the democratic party. But 
after the lapse of twenty or thirty years, another 
element of slaveholders' influence was introduced. In 
the course of these years, the profits arising from the 
cultivation of cotton in the southern states, changed 
the opinion of the rich planters concerning the evil 
of slavery, which at first began there to be considered 
as a good, and then subsequently as a chief good. A 
like change, contemporaneously, came over the free 
states, in certain localities, where cotton-spinning and 
cotton-weaving began to be a source of wealth, and 
consequently of political power. This interest acquired 
strength with time and prosperity, and began to be 
a predominating influence, about the period the Whig 
party was formed, constituting in truth the chief part 
of its cement. It was formed out of the broken 
materials of the old parties, which time and circum- 
stances had dissolved, and was composed of recently 
fledged politicians, with a mixture of some democrats 
and some federalists, who joined the new party, not 
because its principles were to their mind, but because 
it was the best in the field. It took the name of Whigs, 
not from any affinity with those of the Revolution, but 
because the name had a savour of liberty, and thus 
formed a convenient cover for those whose interests 
led to the support of slavery. Boston became one of 
the localities where the head-quarters of the Whigs 
was established, and of course became identified with 
the cotton-spinning and cotton-weaving interests. 
Here, therefore, the interests of the slaveholder were 
espoused with zeal, under the guise of upholding the 



MANOEUVRING. 97 

constitution of the United States, of which the pro- 
vision for returning runaway slaves began to appear 
a most important feature.' 

And so, by general confession, the protracted and 
seemingly high-souled contest to check the progress 
of slavery, has been only a disguise under which 
to advance the interests of party. We are, in fact, 
to understand, that until the present time, the great 
thing held in view, is the power of returning members 
to congress to suit particular purposes, and that an 
objection to slavery has never attained the position of a 
substantive question — scarcely been ever anything else 
than a convenient sham. On the seizure of Texas, 
and afterwards on the outbreak of the war with 
Mexico — whenever fresh territory for slavery purposes 
was to be added to the Union — the Whigs blazed forth 
{ Resolutions/ about l the duty of the free states not to 
submit.' But with the firing off of these wind-guns, 
' the clamour, the courage, and patriotism of the 
Whigs oozed away;' and on each occasion, when the 
special object for noisy demonstration was one way 
or other set at rest — as has been recently exhibited 
in the case of Kansas — down sunk all ebullition of 
public, or more properly, party sentiment. Are the 
modern republicans to be more sincere and trust- 
worthy than the now ' fossilised * Whigs? We know 
not. Avowing a merely defensive policy, they have 
disclaimed any intention to interfere with southern 
institutions ; and looking at the past, we may be 
pardoned for not entertaining high expectations of 
what is to ensue should they get into power — an event 
in itself doubtful. Meanwhile, strong language is 
occasionally used by c free-soilers ' in and out of con- 
gress, denunciatory of slaveholders, and we always 
seem to be on the eve of something being done to put 
an end to slavery. Alas ! after talking and scheming 

G 



98 AMERICAN SLAVERY AND COLOUR. 

for the last fifty years, slavery is more vigorous and 
lifelike than ever. According to the well-known ratio 
of increase — about 150,000 per annum — the present 
number of slaves in the United States cannot be 
fewer than 4,100,000, shewing an addition of 900,000 
since 1850. We think it may be safely averred that 
party manoeuvring has had a fair trial and been found 
wanting. Slavery is to be abated neither by abuse, 
nor by selfish political partisanship. The free states, 
if they feel inclined, may appoint representatives in 
congress who could shiver the principle of squatter 
sovereignty to atoms, and consequently reduce slavery 
to a sectional institution, preliminary to its extinction. 
How, in the aggregate, they have failed to do so, let 
late elections testify. 



OUTRAGE ON MR SUMNER. 

In the spring and summer of 1856, the illegal 
proceedings of the Missourians in Kansas, produced 
much resentment throughout the free states — discus- 
sions on the subject being, doubtless, aggravated with 
a covert reference to the approaching presidential 
election. In congress, too, the struggle in Kansas 
produced a debate, whence arose an incident which 
takes a prominent place in the history of American 
slavery. "We allude to that most dastardly and disgrace- 
ful assault on the person of Mr Sumner, which no 
provocation could justify. 

The Hon. Charles Sumner, for some years a member 
of senate from Massachusetts, and a lawyer by pro- 
fession, is at present one of the most accomplished 
scholars and orators in the United States — as a free- 
soiler, an uncompromising enemy of slavery, and well 
known for his advocacy of all proper measures for 
social melioration. If we were asked to name a 
member of the supreme legislature, of whom the 
American people had reason to be specially proud, 
we would unhesitatingly refer to Charles Sumner. 
Mild and gentlemanly in manners, he is the last 
person whom we could have supposed to be the victim 
of the unseemly outrage, of which we may give a brief 
account. On the 19th and 20th of May 1856, Mr 
Sumner delivered in his place in the senate at 
Washington, one of his most effective harangues on 
the iniquities which had been perpetrated in Kansas. 
Calling on the legislature for redress, he began by 
describing the crime which had been promoted by 



100 AMERICAN SLAVERY AND COLOUR. 

4 

the Slave Power — an oligarchy exercising a thraldom 
which it was his intention and duty to expose. He 
then proceeded : 

' Before entering upon the argument, I must 
say something of a general character, particularly 
in response to what has fallen from senators who 
have raised themselves to eminence on this floor in 
championship of human wrongs; I mean the senator 
from South Carolina [A. P. Butler], and the senator 
from Illinois [S. A. Douglas], who, though unlike as 
Don Quixote and Sancho Panza, yet, like this couple, 
sally forth together in the same adventure. I regret 
much to miss the elder senator from his seat; but 
the cause, against which he has run a tilt, with such 
activity of animosity, demands that the opportunity 
of exposing him should not be lost; and it is for the 
cause that I speak. The senator from South Carolina 
has read many books of chivalry, and believes himself 
a chivalrous knight, with sentiments of honour and 
courage. Of course he has chosen a mistress, to whom 
he has made his vows, and who, though ugly to others, 
is always lovely to him; though polluted in the sight 
of the world, is chaste in his sight — I mean the harlot, 
Slavery. For her, his tongue is always profuse in 
words. Let her be impeached in character, or any 
proposition made to shut her out from the extension 
of her wantonness, and no extravagance of manner 
or hardihood of assertion is then too great for this 
senator. The frenzy of Don Quixote, in behalf of 
Dulcinea del Toboso, is all surpassed. The asserted 
rights of slavery, which shock equality of all kinds, 
are cloaked by a fantastic claim of equality. If 
the slave states cannot enjoy what, in mockery of the 
great fathers of the republic, he misnames equality 
under the constitution — in other words, the full 
power in the national territories to compel fellow- 



OUTRAGE ON MR SUMNER. 101 

men to unpaid toil, to separate husband and wife, 
and to sell little children at the auction-block — then, 
sir, the chivalric senator will conduct the state of 
South Carolina out of the Union! Heroic knight! 
Exalted senator ! A second Moses come for a second 
exodus ! 

'But not content with this poor menace, which we 
have been twice told was " measured," the senator, in 
the unrestrained chivalry of his nature, has undertaken 
to apply opprobrious words to those who differ from 
him on this floor. He calls them " sectional and 
fanatical;" and opposition to the usurpation in Kansas, 
he denounces as "an uncaleulating fanaticism." To 
be sure, these charges lack all grace of originality, 
and all sentiment of truth; but the adventurous 
senator does not hesitate. He is the uncompromising, 
unblushing representative on this floor of a flagrant 
sectionalism, which now domineers over the republic; 
and yet with a ludicrous ignorance of his own position 
— unable to see himself as others see him — or with 
an effrontery which even his white head ought not to 
protect from rebuke, he applies to those here who resist 
his sectionalism the very epithet which designates 
himself. The men who strive to bring back the 
government to its original policy, when freedom and 
not slavery was national, while slavery and not freedom 
was sectional, he arraigns as sectional. This will not 
do. It involves too great a perversion of terms. I 
tell that senator, that it is to himself, and to the 
" organisation " of which he is the ' c committed 
advocate," that this epithet belongs. I now fasten it 
upon them. For myself, I care little for names; but 
since the question has been raised here, I affirm that 
the republican party of the Union is in no just sense 
sectional, but, more than any other party, national; 
and that it now goes forth to dislodge from the high 



102 AMERICAN SLAVERY AND COLOUR. 

places of the government, the tyrannical sectionalism of 
which the senator from South Carolina is one of the 
maddest zealots. 

' To the charge of fanaticism I also reply : Sir, 
fanaticism is found in an enthusiasm or exaggeration 
of opinions, particularly on religious subjects; but 
there may be a fanaticism for evil as well as for good. 
Now, I will not deny that there are persons among 
us loving liberty too well for their personal good, in a 
selfish generation. Such there may be, and, for the 
sake of their example, would that there were more | 
In calling them " fanatics," you cast contumely upon 
the noble army of martyrs, from the earliest day down 
to this hour ; upon the great tribunes of human rights, 
by whom life, liberty, and happiness, on earth, have 
been secured; upon the long line of devoted patriots, 
who, throughout history, have truly loved their 
country; and, upon all, who, in noble aspirations for 
the general good, and in forgetfulness of self, have 
stood out before their age, and gathered into their 
generous bosoms the shafts of tyranny and wrong, in 
order to make a pathway for truth. You discredit 
Luther, when alone he nailed his articles to the door of 
the church at Wittenberg, and then, to the imperial 
demand that he should retract, firmly replied : " Here 
I stand ; I cannot do otherwise, so help me God ! " 
You discredit Hampden, when alone he refused to pay 
the few shillings of ship-money, and shook the throne 
of Charles I. ; you discredit Milton, when, amidst the 
corruptions of a heartless court, he lived on, the lofty 
friend of liberty, above question of suspicion ; you 
discredit Russell and Sidney, when, for the sake of 
their country, they calmly turned from family and 
friends, to tread the narrow steps of the scaffold; you 
discredit those early founders of American institutions, 
who preferred the hardships of a wilderness, surrounded 



OUTRAGE ON MR SUMNER. ]03 

by a savage foe, to injustice on beds of ease ; you 
discredit our later fathers, who, few in numbers and 
weak in resources, yet strong in their cause, did not- 
hesitate to brave the mighty power of England, already 
encircling the globe with her morning drum-beats. 
Yes, sir, of such are the fanatics of history, according 
to the senator. But I tell that senator, that there are 
characters badly eminent, of whose fanaticism there can 
be no question. Such were the ancient Egyptians, who 
worshipped divinities in brutish forms; the Druids, 
who darkened the forests of oak, in which they lived, 
by sacrifices of blood ; the Mexicans, who surrendered 
countless victims to the propitiation of their obscene 
idols j the Spaniards, who, under Alva, sought to force 
the Inquisition upon Holland, by a tyranny kindred to 
that now employed to force slavery upon Kansas ; and 
such were the Algerines, when in solemn conclave, after 
listening to a speech not unlike that of the senator 
from South Carolina, they resolved to continue the 
slavery of white Christians, and to extend it to the 
countrymen of Washington ! Ay, sir, extend it ! And 
in this same dreary catalogue faithful history must 
record all who now, in an enlightened age, and in a land 
of boasted freedom, stand up, in perversion of the 
constitution, and in denial of immortal truth, to fasten 
a new shackle upon their fellow-man. If the senator 
wishes to see fanatics, let him look round among his 
own associates ; let him look at himself. 

'But I have not done with the senator. There is 
another matter regarded by him of such consequence, 
that he interpolated it into the speech of the senator 
from New Hampshire [J. P. Hale], and also announced 
that he had prepared himself with it, to take in his 
pocket all the way to Boston, when he expected to 
address the people of that community. On this account, 
and for the sake of truth, I stop for one moment, and 



104 AMERICAN SLAVERY AND COLOUR. 

tread it to the earth. The North, according to the 
senator, was engaged in the slave-trade, and helped to 
introduce slaves into the southern states ; and this 
undeniable fact he proposed to establish by statistics, 
in stating which his errors surpassed his sentences in 
number. But I let these pass for the present, that I 
may deal with his argument. Pray, sir, is the acknow- 
ledged turpitude of a departed generation to become 
an example for us? And yet the suggestion of the 
senator, if entitled to any consideration in this 
discussion, must have this extent. I join my friend 
from New Hampshire in thanking the senator from 
South Carolina for adducing this instance ; for it gives 
me an opportunity to say, that the northern merchants, 
with homes in Boston, Bristol, Newport, New York, 
and Philadelphia, who catered for slavery during the 
years of the slave-trade, are the lineal progenitors of 
the northern men, with homes in these places, who lend 
themselves to slavery in our day; and especially that 
all, whether north or south, who take part, directly or 
indirectly, in the conspiracy against Kansas, do but 
continue the work of the slave-traders, which you 
condemn. It is true, too true, alas ! that our fathers 
were engaged in this traffic ; but that is no apology for 
it. And in repelling the authority of this example, I 
repel also the trite argument founded on the earlier 
example of England. It is true that our mother- 
country, at the peace of Utrecht, extorted from Spain 
the Assiento Contract, securing the monopoly of the 
slave-trade with the Spanish colonies, as the whole price 
of all the blood of great victories; that she higgled 
at Aix-la-Chapelle for another lease of this exclusive 
traffic; and again, at the treaty of Madrid, clung to 
the wretched piracy. It is true, that in this spirit the 
power of the mother-country was prostituted to the 
same base ends in her American colonies, against 



OUTRAGE ON MR SUMNER. 105 

indignant protests from our fathers. All these things 
now rise up in judgment against her. Let us not 
follow the senator from South Carolina to do the 
very evil to-day, which in another generation we 
condemn/ 

Next, referring to Mr Douglas, senator from Illinois, 
he proceeded: ' Standing on this floor, the senator 
issued his rescript, requiring submission to the 
usurped power of Kansas; and this was accompanied 
by a manner — all his own — such as befits the 
tyrannical threat. Very well. Let the senator try. 
I tell him now that he cannot enforce any such 
submission. The senator, with the slave-power at his 
back, is strong, but he is not strong enough for this 
purpose. He is bold. He shrinks from nothing. Like 
Danton, he may cry, " Uaudace ! Vaudace ! toujours 
faudace!" but even his audacity cannot compass this 
work. The senator copies the British officer, who, with 
boastful swagger, said that with the hilt of his sword 
he would cram the " stamps " down the throats of the 
American people; and he will meet a similar failure. 
He may convulse this country with civil feud. Like 
the ancient madman, he may set fire to this temple of 
constitutional liberty, grander than Ephesian dome ; 
but he cannot enforce obedience to that tyrannical 
usurpation. 

( The senator dreams that he can subdue the North. 
He disclaims the open threat, but his conduct still 
implies it. How little that senator knows himself, 
or the strength of the cause which he persecutes ! 
He is but a mortal man; against him is an immortal 
principle. With finite power, he wrestles with the 
infinite, and he must fall. Against him are stronger 
battalions than any marshalled by mortal arm — the 
inborn, ineradicable, invincible sentiments of the 
human heart ; against him is nature in all her subtile 



106 AMERICAN SLAVERY AND COLOUR. 

forces; against him is God. Let him try to subdue 
these/ 

We need not follow Mr Sumner through his 
lengthened speech, for the narrative of the struggle 
in Kansas, which formed its main feature, has been 
already presented in these pages. In concluding, he 
admonitorily appealed to the sense of justice of the 
people. 'The contest which, beginning in Kansas, 
has reached us, will soon be transferred from congress 
to a broader stage, where every citizen will be not 
only spectator, but actor ; and to their judgment I 
confidently appeal. To the people, now on the eve 
of exercising the electoral franchise, in choosing a 
chief magistrate of the republic, I appeal, to vindicate 
the electoral franchise in Kansas. Let the ballot-box 
of the Union, with multitudinous might, protect the 
ballot-box in that territory. Let the voters everywhere, 
while rejoicing in their own rights, help to guard the 
equal rights of distant fellow-citizens ; that the shrines 
of popular institutions, now desecrated, may be sancti- 
fied anew ; that the ballot-box, now plundered, may be 
restored ; and that the cry, " I am an American citizen," 
may not be sent forth in vain against outrage of every 
kind. In just regard for free labour in that territory, 
which it is sought to blast by unwelcome association 
with slave labour; in Christian sympathy with the 
slave, whom it is proposed to task and to sell there ; 
in stern condemnation of the crime which has been 
consummated on that beautiful soil; in rescue of 
fellow-citizens, now subjugated to a tyrannical usurpa- 
tion; in dutiful respect for the early fathers, whose 
aspirations are now ignobly thwarted; in the name 
of the constitution, which has been outraged — of the 
laws trampled down — of justice banished — of humanity 
degraded — of peace destroyed — of freedom crushed to 
earth; and, in the name of the Heavenly Father, 



OUTRAGE ON MR SUMNER. 1C7 

whose service is perfect freedom, I make this last 
appeal.' 

Candidly considered, there were some passages 
in this speech neither in the best taste, nor in 
accordance with English notions of parliamentary 
licence ; but there was nothing out of the usual routine 
of congressional harangues on occasions of party 
difference ; and we have to remember that Mr Sumner 
spoke under a deep sense of the grievous wrongs com- 
mitted in Kansas, through the agency of the party 
of which Mr Butler and Mr Douglas were, in a sense, 
the leaders. Whatever may be thought of Mr Sumner's 
harangue, nothing could justify the form of reprisal, 
a bare allusion to which shocks every sensitive 
feeling. 

Mr Sumner's speech enraged the extreme southern 
party in congress; and as is now alleged, the Hon. 
Preston S. Brooks,* member of the House of Repre- 
sentatives, from South Carolina, was appointed to commit 
an assault on Mr Sumner, under the name of a 
chastisement for his allusions to Mr Butler, who was 
at the time absent. Whether Brooks so acted from 
the incitement of his friends or only from his own will, 
is indifferent. On the 22d of May, the senate adjourned 
at an early hour, in consequence of the death of a 
member ; but after the adjournment, as is not unusual 
with senators, Mr Sumner remained at his desk 
writing. There were also present Mr Crittenden, of 
Kentucky, and several other senators, who had not 
left the chamber, some of the subordinate officers, and 
a number of other persons. While Mr Sumner was 
seated writing, Mr Brooks, accompanied by Mr Keitt, 



* Members of both brandies of congress receive the title" of Honourable, 
which they seem to retain through life — a curious example of titular 
distinction in a republican country. 



108 AMERICAN SLAVERY AND COLOUR. 

from tlie same state, entered, and forthwith Brooks 
with a cane struck Mr Sumner a severe blow over 
the head. Mr Sumner sprang from his seat, hut 
staggered under the effect of the blow, reeling about 
and falling partially over the desk. Notwithstanding 
his helpless condition, Brooks repeated his blows with 
great force and rapidity. Mr Sumner, who lay on 
the floor in a state of partial stupor, was raised by his 
friends, and carried into the outer apartment, where 
medical service was promptly procured. No one of 
the many persons about, interfered to check the 
outrage, the explanation of this somewhat strange 
circumstance being that the attack was sudden and 
unexpected. 

Such is the substance of the reports given of this 
horrible affair in the New York and Boston newspapers. 
The following is the statement of Mr Sumner : 

1 1 attended the senate as usual on Thursday, the 
22d of May. After some formal business, a message 
was received from the House of Representatives, 
announcing the death of a member of that body from 
Missouri. This was followed by a brief tribute to the 
deceased from Mr Geyer, of Missouri, when, according 
to usage and out of respect to the deceased, the senate 
adjourned at once. Instead of leaving the senate- 
chamber with the rest of the senators, on the adjourn- 
ment, I continued in my seat, occupied with my pen, 
and while thus intent, in order to be in season for the 
mail, which was soon to close, I was approached by 
several persons who desired to converse with me, but I 
answered them promptly and briefly, excusing myself 
for the reason that I was much engaged. When the 
last of these persons left me, I drew my arm-chair close 
to my desk, and with my legs under the desk continued 
writing. My attention at this time was so entirely 
drawn from all other subjects that, though there must 



OUTRAGE ON MR SUMNER. 109 

have been many persons in the senate, I saw nohody. 
While thus intent, with my head bent over my writing, 
I was addressed by a person who approached the front 
of my desk; I was so entirely absorbed that I was 
not aware of his presence until I heard my name 
pronounced. As I looked up with pen in hand, I saw 
a tall man, whose countenance was not familiar, 
standing directly over me, and at the same moment 
caught these words : " I have read your speech twice 
over carefully; it is a libel on South Carolina, and 
Mr Butler, who is a relative of mine." While these 
words were still passing from his lips, he commenced 
a succession of blows with a heavy cane on my bare 
head, by the first of which I was stunned so as to 
lose my sight. I saw no longer my assailant, nor 
any other person or object in the room. What I did 
afterward was done almost unconsciously, acting under 
the instincts of self-defence. With head already bent 
down, I rose from my seat — wrenching up my desk, 
which was screwed to the floor — and then pressing 
forward, while my assailant continued his blows. I 
had no other consciousness until I found myself ten 
feet forward in front of my desk, lying on the floor 
of the senate, with my bleeding head supported on 
the knee of a gentleman whom I soon recognised by 
voice and manner as Mr Morgan, of New York. Other 
persons there were about me offering me friendly 
assistance, but I did not recognise any of them. 
Others there were at a distance, looking on and offering 
no assistance, of whom I recognised only Mr Douglas, 
of Illinois, Mr Toombs, of Georgia, and I thought also 
my assailant standing between them. I was helped 
from the floor and conducted into the lobby of the 
senate, where I was placed upon a sofa. Of those who 
helped me here, I have no recollection. As I entered 
the lobby, I recognised Mr Slidell, of Louisiana, who 



110 AMERICAN SLAVERY AND COLOUR. 

retreated, but I recognised no one else until I felt a 
friendly grasp of the hand, which seemed to come from 
Mr Campbell, of Ohio. I have a vague impression that 
Mr Bright, president of the senate, spoke to me while 
I was on the floor of the senate or in the lobby. I 
make this statement in answer to the interrogatory 
of the committee, and offer it as presenting completely 
all my recollections of the assault and of the attending 
circumstances, whether immediately before or imme- 
diately after. I desire to add, that beside the words 
which I have given as uttered by my assailant, I have 
an indistinct recollection of the words " old man ;" 
but these are so enveloped in the mist which ensued 
from the first blow, that I am not sure whether they 
were uttered or not/ 

Mr Sumner's recovery was slow and doubtful, and 
till the present time, he has not been able to resume 
his senatorial duties. His appeal for legal redress was 
so poorly answered — damages being awarded to the 
amount of only 300 dollars — that faith in public 
justice, we should think, must be considerably shaken. 
The most extraordinary circumstance connected with 
the outrage, was the approval of Brooks's proceedings 
in the southern states. We may gather general 
opinion from the following tirade in the Richmond 
Inquirer, of June 12 : 

' In the main, the press of the South applaud 
the conduct of Mr Brooks, without condition or 
limitation. Our approbation, at least, is entire and 
unreserved. We consider the act good in conception, 
better in execution, and best of all in consequence. 
The vulgar abolitionists in the senate are getting 
above themselves. They have been humoured until 
they forget their position. They have grown saucy, 
and dare to be impudent to gentlemen ! Now, they 
are a low, mean, scurvy set, with some little book- 



OUTRAGE ON MR SUMNER. Ill 

learning, but as utterly devoid of spirit or honour as 
a pack of curs. Intrenched behind " privilege," they 
fancy they can slander the South, and insult its 
representatives with impunity. The truth is, they 
have been suffered to run too long without collars. 
They must be lashed into submission. Sumner, in 
particular, ought to have nine-and-thirty early every 
morning. He is a great strapping fellow, and could 
stand the cowhide beautifully. Brooks frightened 
him, and at the first blow of the cane, he bellowed 
like a bull-calf. In the absence of an adequate law, 
southern gentlemen must protect their own honour 
and feelings. It is an idle mockery to challenge one 
of these scullions. It is equally useless to attempt 
to disgrace them. They are insensible to shame, and 
can be brought to reason only by an application of 
cowhide or gutta-percha. Let them once understand 
that for every vile word spoken against the South, they 
will suffer so many stripes, and they will soon learn 
to behave themselves like decent dogs — they can never 
be gentlemen. Mr Brooks has initiated this salutary 
discipline, and he deserves applause for the bold, 
judicious manner in which he chastised the scamp 
Sumner. It was a proper act, done at the proper 
time, and in the proper place. 

c Of all places on earth, the senate-chamber, the 
theatre of his vituperative exploits, was the very spot 
where Sumner should have been made to suffer for 
his violation of the decencies of decorous debate, and 
for his brutal denunciation of a venerable statesman. 
It was literally and entirely proper that he should be 
stricken down and beaten just beside the desk against 
which he leaned as he fulminated his filthy utterances 
through the capitol. It is idle to talk of the sanctity 
of the senate-chamber, since it is polluted by the 
presence of such fellows as Wilson, and Sumner, and 



112 AMERICAN SLAVERY AND COLOUR. 

Wade. They have desecrated it, and cannot now fly 
to it as to a sanctuary from the lash of vengeance. 
We trust other gentlemen will follow the example 
of Mr Brooks, that so a curb may be imposed upon 
the truculence and audacity of abolition speakers. If 
need be, let us have a caning or cowhiding every day. 
If the worst come to the worst, so much the sooner, 
so much the better.' 

The ovations to Brooks in South Carolina — the 
approval of his conduct at public meetings — the 
presenting him with elegantly mounted canes, and so 
forth, are vividly in the recollection of every reader. 
No event, take it from first to last, has been so 
derogatory to the American character in Europe ; 
although, of course, it is allowed that blame should 
rest, where it has been indignantly put by the unani- 
mous voice of the people of Massachusetts. We may 
know what that voice was, as well as learn a few 
useful particulars as to the relationship of North and 
South, from a speech delivered at Cambridge, near 
Boston, by Mr Richard Dana, junior, author of the 
popular work, Two Years Before the Mast. The 
following are the principal passages : 

' The last census has demonstrated what many have 
declared, but few have believed, that under the form 
of a republic, this country is now, and has long been, 
governed by an oligarchy. In the free states there 
are now about 17,000,000 free inhabitants and no 
slaves. In the slave states there are 4,000,000 slaves, 
owned by 350,000 owners. These 350,000 owners of 
slaves own the valuable land and the labourers, and 
monopolise the government of the slave states. The 
non-slaveholding free population is of little account. 
This forms the privileged class, the oligarchy. It is not 
for the purpose of making them odious that I use this 
name. It is the only proper designation. Including 



OUTRAGE ON MR SUMNER. 113 

the families of tlie owners, there may be 2,000,000 
persons in the dominant class or order. 

'This oligarchy has governed the whole country, 
and governs it now with a sway of increasing demands 
and exactions. Of seventeen presidential elections, 
natives of slave states have carried thirteen, and natives 
of free states four. Of the life of our government, 
forty-nine years have been passed under slaveholding 
chief magistrates, and eighteen under non-slaveholders. 
They have always had a majority of the judges of the 
supreme court of the United States. The population, 
the arts, the sciences, commerce, inventions, copyrights, 
manufactures, all are with the free states. Yet the 
slave states hold, and have always held the judiciary. 
They almost monopolised the army and navy when 
appointments were open. At this moment, though 
there are sixteen free states, and fifteen slave states, 
a majority of the senate are slaveholders. To make 
a long story short, there has never been a question 
between the slave power and the free power, on the 
floor of congress, in which the slave power has not 
triumphed. 

'I will not go over the recital of the successive 
defeats of freedom and aggressions of slavery. The 
subjugation of Kansas is the latest triumph. The 
subjugation of free speech is its object now. At first, 
you recollect, no man can have forgotten, the right 
of petition was denied. For that John Quincy Adams 
perilled all a public man has to peril, and life itself. 
Next, through resolves of congress and platforms of 
both the great parties, they tried again to suppress 
free speech. Now, they chastise it by violence, in the 
very sanctuary of its refuge. No man has received 
a national nomination that is not acceptable to them. 
No man can be confirmed in a national office, from 
Secretaiy of State or minister at St James's to the 



114 AMERICAN SLAVERY AND COLOUR. 

humblest postmaster, that is not satisfactory to them. 
Mr Everett's appointment at St James's hung in 
suspense because he was suspected of having uttered, 
somewhere, a sentiment hostile to slavery and its 
interests. The country is one vast Dionysius's ear. 
Every whisper in the closet is transmitted and punished. 
Before parting to-night, let me ask any doubting 
friend, if there be one here, what provocation more 
he proposes to wait for ? They have added slave 
states by a coup d'etat ; will you wait until they have 
added Cuba or Central America? They have tried 
to force slavery on Kansas ; will you wait until they 
have succeeded? They have violated one solemn 
compact; how many more must they violate, before 
you will assert your right? They have struck down 
a senator in his place. Some of their presses have 
designated the next victim ; will you wait until he 
has fallen?' 

The assault by Mr Brooks did not escape reproof in 
the House of Representatives. He resigned, and was 
re-elected. Although his conduct so far met with the 
approval of his constituents, although feted and lauded, 
Brooks was probably conscious that an indelible stain 
would rest on his reputation. At Washington, in the 
early part of the session 1856-7, he is said to have 
encountered cold looks from former acquaintances. 
His fate was remarkable. He was suddenly seized 
with an inflammation of the throat, resulting in croup. 
By this fatal disease, his life was abruptly and painfully 
terminated, January 27, 1857 — an event which, from 
all the associated circumstances, could hardly fail to 
send a chill through that department of southern 
society which had indiscreetly applauded his outrage. 



BLACK LAWS AND USAGES. 

The condition of slaves in the United States has been 
so luminously described in the recent works of Mrs 
Stowe and others, that further explanations do not 
seem to be necessary. It is now pretty well known, 
that, by the laws of the southern states, a slave, what- 
ever be his colour, belongs as a piece of movable 
property to his master, who may sell him, put him 
to any kind of labour he deems advisable, appropriate 
his earnings, and feed, clothe, and retain him in an 
abject servitude till the end of his days. Like one of 
the lower animals, a slave is a ' chattel personal/ a 
thing without rights ; his duty being unqualified sub- 
mission to the will of his proprietor. To carry out 
the comparison with the lower animals, the slave cannot 
legally marry. He may indeed go through the cere- 
monial of marriage, but the tie is altogether invalid. 
As regards progeny, the law is, that children follow the 
condition of the mother ; children born in slavery, 
therefore, are the property of the owner. A slave 
can raise no suit at law on claim of damage or assault. 
If injured by a third party, his master may alone sue 
for damages, in the same manner as if he complained 
of an injury done to his horse. The master may 
punish his slave without mercy; whip, cudgel, brand, 
and torture him as he thinks fit. Though owners may 
not lawfully and wilfully put their slaves to death, 
practically, according to all accounts, they occasionally 
do so, through the impulse of passion, to the sacrifice 
of their property. At all events, whatever cruelties are 
perpetrated on a southern estate, no slave can bear 



116 AMERICAN SLAVERY AND COLOUR. 

witness against them, for legally he is not permitted to 
make a declaration on oath against whites. Worthless, 
unfriended, it appears to be still a question in law 
whether he is a reasonable being. 

The natural increase of slaves on a plantation causes 
a continual pressure on the means of owners. More 
are born than are wanted for local purposes, and the 
overplus, as a matter of necessity, must be sold to 
traders for transfer to public markets; and on such 
occasions there occur most distressing separations 
among members of families. There is, however, reason 
to believe, that in many instances, planters part with 
their servants with reluctance, and only under the 
pressure of extreme necessity. We do not mention the 
fact from our own knowledge, but from what we heard 
stated in America, that in some cases, masters are 
relieved of an embarrassment, by slaves asking to be 
sold ; the slaves in such cases being influenced by the 
false representations of decoy-negroes sent to recruit 
for labourers. That there frequently exists the most 
kindly feeling between the families of proprietors and 
their slave dependents, is undeniable ; and it is the 
spectacle of this harmony between master and servant, 
that fascinates travellers in the South, and induces them 
to declare that slavery is by no means so bad a thing 
as it is usually represented. 

Unhappily, the slave has no security in the indulgence 
of his proprietor. He is at all times liable to be sold 
on account of the death, insolvency, not to speak of 
the ordinary necessities, of his owner ; and may at any 
moment be precipitated from a state of comparative 
comfort to a condition of utter wretchedness. Some 
owners, affected by the evils of slavery, would, though 
at a great pecuniary sacrifice, emancipate their slaves, 
and so leave them to assume the status of free 
labourers. But, independently of a general dislike of 



BLACK LAWS AND USAGES. 117 

free labour in the South, there are laws to check the 
benevolent intentions of slave-owners. Emancipations 
take place in particular circumstances, and by tolerance 
in certain states ; but as a general rule, an owner 
desiring to liberate his slaves would need to send them 
into the free states or out of the country. Were 
he to emancipate them in defiance of this law, without 
exiling them, they would be seized and sold by the 
public authorities; by which arrangement liberation 
is, to a great extent, impracticable. These difficulties, 
however, cannot be deemed an apology for slavery. 
If owners were generally disposed to adopt means 
for securing freedom to their slaves, they could 
surely agitate for a reconsideration of the state laws 
which at present hamper their operations. Accord- 
ing to southern notions, the freeing of slaves is 
immoral — a crime against social order. The slaves, 
consequently, are not allowed to purchase their own 
freedom, by the savings of extra industry. The 
whole earnings of a slave belong to his master; 
unless by particular favour, he can retain nothing 
for himself. In Brazil, as was the law in the British 
West Indies, slaves are humanely entitled to certain 
holidays, which are at their own disposal, by which 
arrangement they are enabled to cultivate small patches 
of land, and accumulate wherewith to buy their 
freedom. In the United States, the slaves can legally 
claim no holidays; though a week at Christmas is 
usually granted, and in most quarters they are allowed 
to be at rest on Sunday. This denial of the power of 
labouring to buy themselves from their owners, forms 
a feature in American slavery which distinguishes it 
from aught in ancient or modern times. The slavery 
of Russia is liberty itself, in comparison. A natural 
result is the desire to escape, in defiance of all pre- 
cautions to the contrary. Large numbers flee from 



118 AMERICAN SLAVERY AND COLOUR. 

slavery, and through the aid of friends at different 
parts of the country, make their way to Western 
Canada. One person with whom we have been 
made acquainted, has afforded means of escape to 
upwards of 2000 slaves, and we doubt not he will, from 
a conscientious feeling of duty, help away many more. 
So numerous are now the channels of escape, that 
towards the more northern sections of the slave states, 
owners begin to entertain a sense of considerable 
insecurity in their human property. 

Besides fears on this account, slave-owners over 
the whole South are less or more under a constant 
apprehension of outbreak; the best evidence of their 
uneasiness being the rigorous measures of coercion 
by which their power is sustained. As a security 
against plots for insurrection or escape, the slave in 
the United States is necessarily kept in ignorance. It 
is illegal to teach him to read; and although some 
masters and mistresses evade the law in this respect, 
the slaves generally know nothing of the arts of reading 
and writing. Further, they are not allowed to travel 
from home without written passes, which, in their 
ignorance of letters, they are unable to counterfeit. 
The seizure and imprisonment of vagrant slaves form 
a staple subject of advertisements in southern news- 
papers; and so likewise is the tracking of runaways 
by means of ' negro dogs' a matter of frequent 
announcement. 

Such is an outline of the ordinary condition of 
American slaves — in some states better, and in other 
states worse, according to circumstances. An antici- 
pated insurrection, for example, being always followed 
with additional severities; such as, preventing the 
slaves from assembling for religious worship, or from 
enjoying various petty indulgences. Among the fifteen 
slave states, that of Delaware possesses the most 



BLACK LAWS AND USAGES. 119 

liberal slave code; and but for party manoeuvring, 
a small exertion would add it to the number of the 
free states. In travelling southward, the stranger 
becomes aware that he has passed the boundary of 
freedom, by the general aspect of dilapidation in the 
rural districts, by the want of commercial life in 
the towns, and in particular, by the appearance, for 
the first time, of soldiers on guard in the evenings at 
public buildings — -a phenomenon strikingly indicative 
of a peculiar and not very satisfactory social condition. 

Despite the various restrictions on emancipation and 
the settlement of free negroes, there have grown up 
throughout the slave states a certain number of free 
persons of colour — some black, others nearly as light 
in the complexion as whites. In Louisiana, in 
particular, free persons of colour own large possessions, 
though labouring under social disabilities. The number 
of free coloured persons in the whole of the slave 
states, in 1850, amounted to 228,128. In the free 
states, at the same period, there were 196,016 free 
persons of colour ; the total number in the Union being 
424,144. 

From all that fell under my observation in America, 
I arrived at the conviction that as long as the free 
persons of colour were legally and socially oppressed 
in the northern states, the people of these states 
generally could not with a good grace address remon- 
strances to the South on the subject of slavery; and, 
indeed, an entire reversal of free-state policy on this 
point, would, in my opinion, be necessary as a pre- 
liminary to making any proposal to southern planters 
that they should dismiss their slaves and resort to free 
labour. It is not possible to speak without indignation 
of the contumelies to which free coloured persons are 
exposed throughout the United States; and what is 
most offensive of all is, that more flagrant cases of 



120 AMERICAN SLAVERY AND COLOUR. 

maltreatment occur in the North than the South — 
affectedly religions people in various free states 
shrinking with mnch greater horror from coloured indi- 
viduals in railway-cars and hotels than even l southern 
chivalry.' Yet, the laws respecting free persons of 
colour in most of the slave states are sufficiently 
barbarous, and any relaxations in the way of personal 
intercourse depend more on private than public feeling. 
In the southern states, free persons of colour have 
always been a source of anxiety, in consequence of 
the increase in their numbers and their advancement 
in wealth and intelligence. Their very success as free 
labourers and artisans is viewed ungraciously, for it 
is a standing protest against the often-repeated doctrine, 
that if the slaves were emancipated they would not 
work, and so become a dangerous class and a burden 
to the community. As conservative of slavery, it has 
been deemed desirable to repress the rise of free 
coloured persons to situations of trust, by the enact- 
ment of numerous disqualifying laws. In Virginia, 
these laws are exceedingly obnoxious. In this state, it 
is a penal offence to teach free coloured children 
to read — imprisonment to a white person, and stripes 
or imprisonment to a negro. Two or three years ago, 
a lady was imprisoned for this offence. In Virginia, 
a free negro cannot keep a gun in his house, under a 
penalty of stripes or imprisonment. He must not go 
from home after dark, unless provided with a pass; 
annual licences or passes are issued for a certain fee. 
He must not keep a store or tavern; every effort 
being made to restrict him to such industrial pursuits 
as will not compete with the white business part of 
the community. Should he leave the state, and go 
even for the shortest distance into a free state, he 
returns only at the risk of being imprisoned and tried 
for the offence ; if found guilty, he is ordered to leave 



BLACK LAWS AND USAGES. 121 

the state within ten days, never to return, except under 
the penalty of being sold as a slave. He may hold real 
estate in his own name, a rather remarkable indulgence ; 
but in the condition of an owner of property, and in 
his attempts to conduct any business transaction, he 
is greatly hampered in consequence of his testimony 
not being valid in a court of justice, in any case where 
the interests of a white man are at stake, or where 
his evidence would conflict with that of one of the 
governing class. The taxes that Virginia imposes on 
this unfortunate class are burdensome in the extreme. 
In addition to the numberless petty rates they are 
compelled to pay to city and county authorities, a state 
tax of one dollar per head has been levied from them 
for the last five years; from which the state annually 
derives a revenue of nearly, if not quite, fifty thousand 
dollars. The tax was originally imposed as an aid 
towards removing free persons of colour to Liberia, but 
has latterly been misappropriated. 

As a general rule in slave states, every free person 
of colour is obliged to procure from the court of the 
county in which he resides, a set of papers to shew 
when required, in proof of his freedom. Should he 
quit the state, he will find that even these papers, 
which any white man may demand a sight of, are not 
considered sufficient evidences of freedom, without 
additional sworn testimony of some well-known white 
citizen. Should he, when in a distant part of the 
country, by any misfortune lose his 'free papers/ as 
they are called, he is at any moment liable to arrest ; 
his colour being presumptive evidence that he is a 
fugitive slave. If arrested, and unable to communicate 
with his friends, he would be detained in jail for a 
certain period, be advertised, and if unable to pay 
prison and other expenses, he would be sold by public 
auction, like a stray heifer. 



122 AMERICAN SLAVERY AND COLOUR. 

Free coloured persons with more than three quarters 
of white blood, are relieved from the operation of the 
laws which bear with most severity on those of darker 
complexion. They may engage in any business that 
the extent of their capital will admit ; their testimony 
will be received in court in opposition to that of white 
citizens ; and they may leave the state and return at 
pleasure. But by these concessions, they gain no 
social status; nor do they acquire political equality 
with whites. Free coloured persons of any shade 
are pronounced by federal authority not to be citizens 
under the constitution — a fact formerly adverted to, 
in speaking of a recent case. 

In North Carolina, the laws affecting coloured 
persons are as severe as they are in Virginia, if not 
more so. According to one of these laws, a free 
coloured person incurs a penalty of 500 dollars on 
entering and residing in the state, and failing payment, 
he will be sold as a slave for a sufficient length of 
time to pay the amount. Lately, a young man, a free 
coloured seaman, from the state of New York, having 
shipped to a port in North Carolina, he was there 
detained by illness, and shortly afterwards put in jail. 
Some parties on the spot interested themselves in 
him, and with immense trouble, he was released. His 
journey homewards, in company of a white person, 
was attended with extreme difficulty. The account of 
the whole transaction occupies three columns in the. 
Tribune, New York newspaper, February 13, 1857, 
and gives a vivid idea of the troubles and perils 
to which free coloured persons from the North expose 
themselves within the verge of the slave states. 

In South Carolina, free coloured children enjoy 
a remarkable immunity; they are permitted to go 
to school. In Charleston, the principal city of the 
state, there is an excellent school supported entirely 



BLACK LAWS AND USAGES. 123 

by the free coloured people, who form an intelligent 
and industrious body. They are, however, exposed 
to many annoyances, and made to feel their subor- 
dinate condition. A free coloured man must not 
carry a cane, and his wife is not allowed to wear 
a veil. Should they walk out together in the street, 
she must not take his arm ; that would be regarded 
as an act of flagrant impertinence. If they meet a 
white person, and the path is narrow, they must go 
aside into the gutter to give unobstructed passage to 
a white. Even in their dwellings, they are not safe 
from indignities. The sound of many voices issuing 
at night from their houses is a suspicious circumstance, 
and will warrant the intrusion of any white person to 
inquire the cause. 

"When a coloured mother wishes to have her infant 
christened, and desires to invite a few friends to be 
present, she must inquire at her white neighbours if 
they have any objections to the proposed party ; then, 
she must procure the permission of the authorities, 
without which the whole assembly might be arrested, 
punished with fine or stripes, at the option of the 
magistrate. In this, as in other slave states, all 
mechanical pursuits are open to free coloured 
persons, for, as it is deemed a degradation to a white 
man to engage in manual labour, no competition is 
feared. But they are not allowed to enter the learned 
professions, nor can they in any slave state, except 
Louisiana, where there are a few coloured physicians 
and some men of colour engaged in commercial 
pursuits. 

In Georgia, in addition to the usual disabilities, a 
free coloured person is not permitted to hold real estate 
in his own name. He is compelled, no matter what be 
his age, to select a white guardian, who holds his pro- 
perty, and is answerable for him in law. Should the 



124: AMERICAN SLAVERY AND COLOUR. 

guardian prove faithless to his trust, his ward has no 
redress, as no evidence of his would have a feather's 
weight when opposed to that of a white. 

In Louisiana, as above stated, the free coloured people 
are more privileged — a circumstance perhaps traceable 
to the kindliness of the French towards the negro 
race. From whatever cause, the oath of a coloured 
man in a court of justice has equal weight with that 
of a white citizen. Several attempts have been made 
to extinguish this privilege, and render the laws of the 
state more in harmony with those of other slave states ; 
but on the side of negro testimony are arrayed strong 
interests, some of the largest land claims in the state 
being sustained by the testimony of persons belonging 
to this class. The very great mixture of races in 
Louisiana probably assists in thus doing something like 
justice. For years, the free coloured people of New 
Orleans were taxed to support the public schools of the 
city, and at the same time no provision was made for 
the education of their own children. For some time, 
the public school committee refused any appropriation 
to support schools for free coloured children, nor were 
these children allowed to attend the schools for whites. 
At length, after receiving numerous petitions, the com- 
mittee was induced to make an appropriation of a very 
limited kind, which was gratefully accepted, though 
very inadequate to meet the general wants. 

The laws of Texas, Alabama, Tennessee, and Missouri 
are in their general character like those of Virginia. 
In Texas there are severe laws against introducing free 
people of colour, enacted with additional penalties in 
1856; yet, we are told by Olmsted that many of this 
class, from Louisiana, have established themselves in 
the state, though at the cost of feuds and bloodshed. 
The laws of Kentucky are somewhat milder ; but there, 
as elsewhere, much depends on transitory circumstances 



BLACK LAWS AND USAGES. 123 

— law and administration, in slave states especially, 
being two very different things. 

The insurrections that have occurred at various times 
in different parts of the South, have invariably been dis- 
astrous to the free people of colour, though they have 
been no way concerned in the negro outbreaks. The 
contemplated insurrection of Denmark Vesey in South 
Carolina, which was discovered only a short time before 
the period appointed for the outbreak, deprived the free 
coloured people of many privileges which they had 
enjoyed. A subsequent attempt of a similar character 
in Virginia, under the leadership of Nat Turner, was 
followed by corresponding results. The recent real or 
alleged attempt at insurrection in Tennessee, bids fair 
to entail more severe suffering on the free coloured 
population than any previous transaction of this nature. 
A law has been lately under consideration in Arkansas, 
which, if carried, will in all probability consign at least 
an eighth part of the now free coloured population to 
slavery. By the provisions of this bill, the alternative 
is presented to the free coloured people in the state, 
either immediate removal, or unconditional sale as 
slaves. Surrounded by slave states which forbid the 
ingress of free negroes, and with several hundred miles 
interposed between them and the free states, it can be 
imagined how little is the chance of escaping the 
penalties of this proposed law. 

While in the slaveholding states, the free coloured 
people are subject to great injustice from the laws 
directly framed to oppress them, in the free states 
generally they have been persecuted by a cruel pre- 
judice, that has not always allowed them to remain 
secure in life and limb. Their political and civil 
privileges differ in different states. The statute-books 
of Indiana and Illinois, both free states, are disgraced 
with a series of what are termed f Black Laws ; ' the 



126 AMERICAN SLAVERY AND COLOUR. 

effect of which is to deprive the coloured man not only 
of all political privileges, but even the validity of his 
oath. The state of Ohio has repealed her black laws 
only within the last few years, after a long agitation on 
the subject. Yet, the laws respecting the qualification 
of voters are not clearly defined, and, as a consequence, 
in the northern part of the state, where a strong anti- 
slavery feeling prevails, free men of colour are permitted 
to vote; but in the southern districts that border on 
the slave state of Kentucky, the reverse is the rule. 
In Iowa, Michigan, Pennsylvania, and Connecticut, 
whilst they are not oppressed by direct legislation, they 
are deprived of all political privileges. In the state 
of New York, they are entitled to vote at elections, 
provided they are possessed of real estate to the value 
of 250 dollars. Gerrit Smith, a well-known philan- 
thropist and reformer, about six years since, created in 
this state nearly one thousand voters in this class, by 
endowing them with property for the necessary quali- 
fication from his vast landed possessions. In all the 
New-England States, Connecticut excepted, the votes of 
free coloured persons are received on equal terms with 
those of the whites; and in Massachusetts, they are 
eligible to the highest offices in the gift of the 
commonwealth. 

Nothing is more common in the northern states 
than to hear the free people of colour spoken of 
disparagingly, if not a nuisance which the country 
would be gladly rid of. As is well known, the plan of 
expatriation was proposed, and has been partly carried 
out by the American Colonisation Society, the well- 
conducted settlement of Liberia on the coast of Africa 
being the consequence. The remarkable prosperity of 
that free republic, which is susceptible of immense 
increase, indicates, if nothing else did, that the world 
has laboured under some mistake about the mental 



BLACK LAWS AND USAGES. 127 

qualities of negroes and mulattoes; and, on this 
account, the plantation of Liberia, apart from all con- 
siderations as to the motives of its projectors, must, I 
think, be accepted as a great fact in favour of negro 
improvability. But it is not necessary to go to Liberia 
in vindication of the character of this abused branch 
of the human race. That the progenitors of the 
present free coloured population of northern states 
were degraded and ignorant, none will deny; but to 
say that their descendants, now in the third and fourth 
generation, are deserving of the same reputation, would 
be unjust and untruthful. Should we grant that they 
were generally degraded, which we by no means admit, 
can those who are inclined to disparage and revile them, 
point out what they have done towards their enlighten- 
ment and elevation? Far from assisting them on the 
road to honour and preferment, they have left no 
means untried to crush in them every noble aspiration, 
to forbid the rise of every sentiment of ambition, to 
keep the whole of every shade of darkness in a con- 
temptuously mean position — exiles from all communion 
in joy, hope, sorrow. 

The force and prevalence of this prejudice can 
scarcely be imagined by any one out of America. That 
the colour of a man's skin, without the slightest 
reference to his moral qualities, or to his wealth, should 
determine his social or political position, savours of the 
ridiculous to Europeans. Yet such is the case in the 
United States. Nay more, even when all trace of the 
negro is lost by intermixture, and he no longer presents 
any distinction in features, the knowledge that he has 
in some way come of African ancestry, is sufficient 
to place him in the proscribed list; he is consigned 
beyond the possibility of extrication to the difficult 
position sustained by the free coloured people of the 
northern states. 



128 AMERICAN SLAVERY AND COLOUR. 

The sufferings endured by this class, from 1835 to 
1842, were of a shocking kind. It was no unusual 
occurrence for an inoffensive man of colour, particularly 
if he was decently dressed, to be openly assaulted by 
white persons, for no cause whatever ; and if his outcries 
attracted attention, no notice was taken when they 
were understood to come from f only a nigger/ With 
the exception of a few abolitionists, the free coloured 
people had no friend ; the agitation of the slave- 
question at that period being unscrupulously visited on 
them. In scarcely any of the large cities of the 
North did they escape violence. Riots of the most 
frightful nature occurred in New York, Philadelphia, 
Boston, and Cincinnati. The dwellings of the coloured 
people were burned down, their furniture destroyed, 
and their lives were taken by the miscreants who were 
permitted to give unchecked rein to their hateful 
passions. In some instances, their churches were 
razed to the ground, as if it had been a crime for 
this unfortunate race to form part of a Christian 
community. 

This storm of persecution having passed over, the 
free coloured population in the northern states gradually 
improved in public opinion. In some quarters, and 
among certain classes of whites, prejudice is as strong 
as ever; but on the whole, it has been greatly meli- 
orated — a circumstance attributable not less to the 
general progress of enlightened sentiment, than the 
feelings of compassion excited by the picturesque and 
affecting incidents in the lifelike narrations of Mrs 
Stowe. Yet, except in Massachusetts, these feelings 
do not go the length of giving complete justice to the 
people of colour. Though subject to a general school- 
rate, their children are not admitted to the higher kind 
of academies; the mere elements of education, at 
district coloured schools, being their full allowance. 



BLACK LAWS AND USAGES. 129 

In the Sabbath schools, the same division is observable. 
St Andrew's Episcopal Church at Philadelphia has 
under its patronage and care a black as well as a white 
Sabbath school, in separate establishments. Once in 
each year, the children of both schools are brought 
into the church, that their progress may be ascertained. 
The white lambs of the flock are placed beside the 
pastor under the shadow of the pulpit, whilst the black 
sheep are stuck up in an obscure part of the organ loft. 
The whites are usually catechised in presence of the 
congregation, and the blacks are kindly permitted to 
sing a doxology while the congregation are dispersing. 

The common practice of excluding coloured people from 
all but certain inferior classes of seats in the churches, 
is well known; and to such an extent has this been 
carried, that in most large towns they have established 
and support churches for themselves. In passing along 
the streets of New York on Sunday, you see churches 
pouring out none but whites, and others none but 
people of various shades of colour, just as if there were 
a white and black Gospel. Only a few years ago, in 
one of the Presbyterian churches of New York, there 
were pews in the gallery marked B. M., signifying 
Black Members. An English clergyman on a visit 
to the States, who had heard of these proscribed 
seats, took an opportunity of testifying against such 
unchristian arrangements, by taking his family to this 
church, and seating himself in the midst of the B. M.s, 
to the astonishment and chagrin of the reverend 
gentleman who officiated, and the horror and disgust 
of the deacons, who were greatly scandalised by the 
stranger's want of self-respect. This quiet method 
of reproving the congregation of this church had the 
desired effect, and the B. M.s have since been removed. 
Negro pews are not now so fashionable as formerly; 
yet a coloured man would have to stand a long time in 



130 AMERICAN SLAVERY AND COLOUR. 

a genteel New York church before he would be offered 
a seat. 

C. K. Whipple, in his able tract, entitled Relations of 
Anii-slavery to Religion, relates the following incident : 
■ In the year 1830, a coloured man bought and paid 
for a pew in Park Street Church, then and since the 
head-quarters of "orthodoxy" in Boston. He occupied 
it, with his family, a Sunday forenoon ; but on 
returning in the afternoon, a constable, employed by 
the church committee, forcibly prevented his entrance ; 
the Prudential Committee wrote him a prohibitory * 
letter; and the church, in a church-meeting called 
thereafter for the express purpose, voted that he should 
not be allowed to occupy his own pew. They then 
proceeded to discuss, in five or six meetings following, 
each opened and closed with prayer, the most convenient 
and effective way of excluding the whole coloured race 
from equal participation in their worship. Finally, at 
the suggestion of one who bore, while he lived, the 
very highest reputation for piety in that church, a new 
pew-deed was framed, containing a provision enabling 
them to effect their purpose, and the pews of that 
church are still held under that deed. It has been so 
perfectly obvious that any similar attempt %ould meet 
the like result, that the trial has never been repeated 
in Boston. A Baptist church, however (Rev. Baron 
S tow's, in Rowe Street), has guarded itself against 
such attempts, by inserting in its pew-deeds the re- 
striction that the pews shall be sold only to "respectable 

* * Boston, March 6, 1830. 
Mr Frederick Brinsley. 

Sir — The Prudential Committee of Park Street Church notify 

you not to occupy any pew on the lower floor of Park Street Meeting-house 

on any Sabbath, or on any other day during the time of divine worship, 

after this date ; and if you go there with such intent, you hazard the 

consequences. The pews in the upper galleries are at your service. 

George Odiorne, for the Committee.'' 



BLACK LAWS AND USAGES. 131; 

white persons." Whoever of that congregation is 
not a saint, can at least claim the credit of being a 
respectable white sinner.' 

Notwithstanding these and all other indignities, it 
is an undoubted fact, that the free people of colour 
persevere in improving their circumstances, and in 
seizing on every possible advantage in the way of 
education. Still excluded from the colleges in New 
York or Philadelphia, coloured young men are admitted 
as a favour to some of the other northern colleges and 
higher order of academies on a footing of equality with 
whites. The consequence of this irrepressible desire 
for instruction is observable in the rise of coloured 
men in northern society; there being now in Boston 
coloured lawyers practising at the bar, coloured 
physicians, lecturers, and manufacturers. A prejudice, 
however, long outlives its expulsion from the minds of 
the more intelligent classes, of which we have till this 
day a lamentable example in the treatment of Jews in 
England. Educated, refined in sentiment, wealthy, 
admitted to the highest society, Jews are still excluded 
by technical forms from the House of Commons; and 
time after time, the city of London returns a gentle- 
man to parliament who is not allowed to take his seat, 
unless he make a declaration of a religious nature in 
violation of his conscience. So does prejudice operate 
in America. All are not to be blamed, because the 
free people of colour are subject to vulgar persecution. 
The prejudice against them has not yet vanished from 
the minds of every variety of the ' snob ' genus. By 
white workmen, who fear rivalry and contamination; 
by conceited parvenus, who dread a lowering of their 
dignity; by a miscellaneous body of hotel-keepers, 
railway-car conductors, managers of theatres, deacons 
of churches, and others who are alarmed for offending 
c customers/ the repugnance to associate with, or to 



132 AMERICAN SLAVERY AND COLOUR. 

give house or seat room to coloured people, is still 
daily manifested. Public feeling on the subject seems 
to be in a transition state. A coloured person, in 
travelling about, will sometimes be treated well, 
sometimes ill; sometimes insulted, sometimes passed 
over with indifference. The very administration of the 
law partakes of the feelings of its administrators. 

Not long since, a coloured gentleman, a dealer in 
real estate, was compelled to ride in one of the negro- 
cars, although at the time he held stock in the company 
to the amount of ten thousand dollars. The ejection 
of a coloured lady and her infant from the cars in 
Massachusetts, created so much sympathy as to cause 
the passage of a law in that state, imposing a fine of 
six thousand dollars on any railway company or 
individual guilty of this offence in future. In the city 
of New York, suits have at various times been insti- 
tuted against the proprietors of omnibuses and street 
railway-cars for the forcible ejection of coloured people. 
In one instance, judgment was given in favour of the 
plaintiff, and damages awarded to the amount of 250 
dollars. But there is no dependence on these decisions. 
The case of the Rev. J. W. Pennington, a coloured 
preacher in New York, a most respectable and amiable 
person, who was well received in Europe, and holds 
a degree of Doctor of Divinity from the University of 
Heidelberg, deserves particular attention. Recently, he 
was expelled from a railway-car belonging to the Sixth 
Avenue Railway Company, and forthwith brought an 
action before the superior court of New York. Below, 
we give some notes of the proceedings in this curious 
affair, from the pages of the European, an independent 
New York newspaper.* It will be seen that the judge 



* The counsel for the defendants contended that they were not bound 
to carry coloured people in all their cars. He referred to the constitution of 



BLACK LAWS AND USAGES. ]33 

uttered some strange sentiments, and that the jury 
decided against Dr Pennington. 

Mrs Webb, a coloured lady, apparently a quadroon, 
from the United States, has lately visited England on 
an elocutionary tour. Accomplished in manners, well 
educated, and every way acceptable as a guest in the 
houses of people of distinction, this lady has become 
well known for her elegant readings of the works of 
popular writers. It gives one a curious idea of 
American notions on colour, to know that this ladylike 
person has been subject to indignities in different 

the United States, to shew that there was a line of demarcation between the 
two races, and asked the jury if a coloured man would be permitted to sit at 
the public table of the St Nicholas, or any of our principal hotels. He also 
stated that the number of cars provided by the defendants for the coloured 
people was larger in proportion to the population than the number for 
white people. Judge Slosson, in charging the jury, spoke of this as a 
peculiarly difficult case ; the chief point for consideration being, whether the 
business and interests of the company would suffer, from allowing blacks 
an equality as passengers with whites. The jury, after two hours' deliber- 
ation, found a verdict for the defendants. The European quotes the 
following opinion from the New York Herald: 'Upon this point our 
northern people are remarkably squeamish, while we know that all over the 
South it is quite a common thing to see master and mistress and slave, 
whites and blacks, occupying the same stage or car, without any symptom 
of a turned-up nose on account of the presence of Pomp or Dinah.' The 
European adds the remark: 'If no legal distinctions were made in the 
free states between white and coloured men, the prejudice against the latter 
would soon disappear (it has no existence in Europe), and they would be 
allowed by the whites to work along with them, learn trades, and become 
lawyers and physicians. They are now a persecuted race — reviled, too, on 
account of the direct and inevitable consequences of the bad treatment to 
which they are subjected. When sick, they must be doctored, if at all, by a 
white physician ; when their property, their lives, liberties, or reputations are 
imperiled by judicial procedures, if they have any counsel at all, he must be 
a white man — for no coloured man is, in this city, allowed to become a 
physician or a lawyer. It is different, however, in Massachusetts. This 
brutal prejudice, which exists in no other country, is encouraged by the 
slave-owners for their own purposes. The enforced degradation of the 
coloured man of the North is used as an argument for keeping up slavery in 
the South.' 



134 AMERICAN SLAVERY AND COLOUR. 

parts of the states, for no other reason than she is 
not a pure white. She has mentioned to us, that in 
travelling through Pennsylvania, she was refused access 
to a railway-car, although she had purchased the appro- 
priate ticket. On presenting herself for admission, the 
conductor put his arm across the door, to debar her 
entrance, and could not be induced to admit her. 
With much spirit, she stooped suddenly below his arm, 
and gaining an entrance, she pushed his arm down, to 
enable her husband to follow her into the car, where 
both received the congratulations of the passengers. 
The conductor was enraged, but, from the aspect of 
affairs, did not dare to expel them. 

About a year ago, on visiting Boston, Mrs Webb 
went by recommendation to the Marlboro Hotel in 
that city. The Marlboro is known as ' the pious hotel/ 
It is an establishment celebrated for its religious 
usages — public prayers every morning, and a grace at 
every meal to which the guests assemble. Well, here, 
surely, she was safe? Quite the reverse. Mrs Webb 
was not allowed to attend prayers, nor to take her 
meals at the public tables, but compelled to remain in 
her own apartment. This was not all. The landlord 
had the meanness to charge the usual additional 
price for private meals, although remonstrated with, 
and shewn that exclusion from the public rooms was 
his own act. Much to the credit of the press of 
Massachusetts, this abominable treatment was strongly 
condemned; and we can fancy that by the drilling 
on the occasion, the Marlboro's sense of religious 
consistency must have undergone some improvement. 

In Massachusetts and some other free states, 
coloured persons are legally recognised as American 
citizens; but this is only a local advantage. As 
formerly mentioned, the federal government does not 
allow that they belong to the category of citizens. 



BLACK LAWS AND USAGES. l35 

fan ar ! 1 , t0lerat ,f' and have a kind of protection , thai 
is all. They wfll be given a pass, hut not a passport. 
They are all of them 'niggers/ not Americans ; and 

IrfiT ITr aS ° l4 ^ n ° UnCM ™ «** to hear an 
Irish or German nnmigrant, who had not heen six 
months m the states, talk of sending the niggers ont 
of the country, hack to Africa, to which they Monged 
In the refusal of citizenship, the supreme govern! 
ment has forgotten the pnhlic services of the coloured 
race m the trying times of American history, when the 
clouds of adversi y were most threatening. Answering 

1 J \ b ^ ° f eyer y shade st0 °d «de hy sidf 
HnL ^ 7 I" " fte revoluti °™ry war. The first 
hlood shed m the cause of American independence was 
tha of Christopher Attacks, a mulatto, who was shot by 
British troops m the streets of Boston. In the swamps 
of the Carohnas, under the hanners of Sumpter and 
Marion -with Lafayette at Yorktown, and with 
Washington at Valley Forge and Trenton-wherever 
the flag of the struggling Americans was unfurled, 
there might he found the negro cheerfully fighting 
for the national cause, for that liberty in which his 
descendants are denied to participate. Hundreds of 
coloured men, who are to-day deprived of all political 
privileges ,n the United States, can remember the 
scars displayed hy their grandfathers-scars inflicted 
m defence of a country which has not only bestowed 
on their children obloquy and the hardest bondage, but 
denies their right to call themselves Americans. 

io resume a former comparison, the free coloured 
people inhabiting the United States have, like the 
down-trodden Hebrew race in England and other 
parts of Europe, thriven under adversity. As the Jews, 
by being excluded from the enjoyment of common 
political privileges, bestowed their whole energies on 
certain hranches of trade, and thus accumulated 



130 AMERICAN SLAVERY AND COLOUR. 

immense wealth, so have the free coloured race — negroes, 
mulattoes, quadroons, and so forth — betaken themselves 
to such industrial courses as were left open to them, 
and in many instances with the most favourable results. 
Though contemned or neglected, they form among 
themselves social circles of no mean quality. They 
dress as well as their white compeers ; and in point of 
manners there is nothing, as a general rule, to find 
fault with. At all events, we can testify that the more 
aspiring among them who have visited Great Britain, 
do no discredit to the land of their nativity, and are 
treated in every respect as if they could boast of a 
purely Anglo-Saxon origin. 



WHAT THE CLERGY THINK OF IT. 

Slavery, and also the general prejudice against free 
people of colour, in the United States, are understood 
to have been in no small degree fortified by the conduct 
of the clergy of nearly every denomination — some 
better, some worse, but in too many instances, for the 
sake of conciliation, chargeable with perverting the 
religious doctrines which it is their duty to inculcate 
in a state of purity. It may be admitted that the 
position of clergymen, north as well as south, is exceed- 
ingly difficult and unpleasant. They see that the 
federal constitution and civil laws are in conflict with 
the law of the Gospel. Conviction may draw one way, 
livelihood another. Ministering to congregations who, 
to say the very least, are opposed to all action on the 
slavery question, it may be said their choice is in many 
quarters narrowed to the single point — either to follow 
public opinion, or give up preaching altogether, and so 
leave society in a state of spiritual destitution. Unfor- 
tunately, the American clergy do not confine themselves 
to passive obedience, nor with simply and conscien- 
tiously protesting on all suitable occasions against acts 
falling within the sphere of their duty. They indus- 
triously throw the weight of their influence and their 
dialectics on the side of slavery, which they make out to 
be a truly Christian institution, of the highest spiritual 
value to its victims; and, further, seize every oppor- 
tunity of reviling those who advocate anti-slavery 
principles — calling them confusionists, infidels, and 
what not. Many clergymen in the South hold slaves ; 
and also connive at their congregations possessing and 



138 AMERICAN SLAVERY AND COLOUR. 

hiring out slaves as a branch of ecclesiastical revenue. 
Clergy and congregations concur in occasionally raising- 
funds for missionary schemes, Bible societies, and the 
erection of new places of worship by selling parcels of 
slaves. Joseph Sturge, in his Visit to the United 
States (1841), mentions the case of a congregation of 
Roman Catholics in Maryland, who sold some of their 
own church members in order to apply the proceeds to 
the building of a new place of public worship ! How 
many of the clergy, likewise, at command, unite slaves 
in marriage, though quite aware that the ceremony is 
a mockery, and that the man and woman, perhaps both, 
are already married to other parties.* In short, instead 
of deploring this monstrous social evil, they absolutely 
encourage its growth, and speak of it as a marvellous 
blessing to the country. Who can speak with com- 
posure of this scandalous abuse of common sense and 
the most marked principles of Christianity ? A griev- 
ous wrong is inflicted on the religion, of which these 
men pretend to be the true expositors. 

Before us lie a number of documents containing 
flagrant evidences of this dereliction of duty; and in 
making a selection, the only difficulty is to know where 
to begin. We may at a venture first take up a 
pamphlet, purporting to be Ten Letters on the Subject 
of Slavery, by N. L. Rice, D.D., Pastor of the Second 
Presbyterian Church, St Louis, Missouri, published at 

* ' At the Shiloh Baptist Association, which, met at Gourdvine, a few years 
since, the following query, says the Religious Herald, was presented from 
Hedgman church — namely, Is a servant, whose husband or wife has been 
sold by his or her master, into a distant country, to be permitted to marry 
again? The query was referred to a committee, who made the following 
report, which, after discussion, was adopted : That, in view of the circum- 
stances in which servants in this country are placed, the committee are 
unanimous in the opinion that it is better to permit servants thus 
circumstanced to take another husband or wife.' — Key to Uncle Tom's 
Cabin. 



WHAT THE CLERGY THINK OF IT. 139 

St Louis in 1855. Dr Rice writes to shew that those 
who oppose abolitionists do not fear discussion, and 
trusts that what he has to say will allay prejudice and 
passion. He considers slavery to be a providential 
fact, highly beneficial to the negro, and, ' God has 
permitted it, for wise reasons, in order to the accom- 
plishment of some great and important ends/ He 
then asks : e Brethren, has it ever occurred to you, 
and to those with whom you act, that God has some 
great and benevolent ends to accomplish, by permitting 
slavery to exist in our country ? You may regard this 
as a strange question ; but although I have been in the 
habit, for years, of reading the writings of abolitionists, 
I do not remember to have seen the question discussed 
in a single instance. Their minds seem to have been 
fixed exclusively upon the wrongs which, as they 
suppose, have been inflicted upon the slaves ; and their 
time and energies have been expended in condemning 
and denouncing slaveholders. The Presbyterian church 
has taken a widely different view. She has endeavoured 
to understand the designs of an All- wise Providence, 
in permitting the existence of slavery in our country. 
She has believed, that she did, to some extent, under- 
stand them; and her treatment of slavery has been 
influenced, in no small degree, by her views of the 
leadings of God's providence/ 

In short, the African has been sent to America to 
' receive the light of the Gospel ;' and ' you will not 
deny, moreover, that the spiritual and eternal interests 
of the slaves are of infinitely greater importance than 
their freedom from human bondage/ In fact, abolition 
is a matter of e comparatively trifling importance ; ' and 
' you are compelled to admit that abolitionists, instead 
of rightly interpreting the providence of God, have 
perseveringly fought against it — that they have been the 
most determined enemies of a great work of God — one 



140 AMERICAN SLAVERY AND COLOUR. 

of the most important of this eventful age/ Slavery, 
Dr Bice afterwards says, was authorised by Moses, and 
no way denounced by the apostles. Abolitionism, by 
a natural consequence, leads to infidelity. \ No wonder, 
one of you told the General Assembly, last spring, of 
the unsettled state of men's minds in Massachusetts, 
and of the increase of infidelity there. If abolitionism 
much longer holds the sway, there will be little else 
there but infidelity.' Another argument — ' Since the 
free states are throwing insuperable obstacles in the 
way of the settlement of free coloured people in their 
limits; and since the abolitionists denounce African 
colonisation, it really seems reasonable that they 
should stop their denunciations long enough to tell 
conscientious masters what to do with their slaves.' 
As for the churches in New England who may now 
denounce slavery, they never did so while slavery was 
sustained by law. 'Am I not correct? It passed 
away from New England rather because it was un- 
profitable, I presume, than because congregationalists 
expelled it. It required no extraordinary piety to 
denounce it, after it had passed away from you, and 
when you had nothing to lose by so doing.' 

This slap at the New England clergy is perhaps not 
ill-deserved. The majority of them, we believe, made 
no objection to the Fugitive Slave Law; and it is stated 
on good authority, that many of them in sermons and 
otherwise openly approved of Webster's pro-slavery 
measures. In 1830, as formerly stated, a coloured 
family were excluded from their own purchased seat 
in Park Street Church, Boston. In May 1851, while 
Boston was agitated by the seizure of a refugee slave, 
the Eev. Dorus Clarke, minister of the Old South 
Church, refused to pray that God might be pleased 
to arouse the churches in that city to a sense of the 
duty of not delivering up this unhappy fugitive. On 



WHAT THE CLERGY THINK OF IT. 141 

these and some other facts, Mr Whipple, in the tract 
already referred to, makes the following remarks : 

* Park Street Church turns a coloured man, because he is coloured, 
out of a pew which he has bought and paid for, and then votes that 
no coloured man shall be allowed even to buy a pew any more among 
them ; and their minister says nothing against it. Bowe Street Church 
votes that only respectable white persons shall own pews among 
them ; and their minister says nothing against it. The minister of 
the Old South Church publicly defends slavery from the Bible, and 
his people agree with him. To carry out their idea of the best 
mode of promoting piety and good morals, they establish a daily 
meeting for prayer and exhortation. Whatever is " their hearts' 
sincere desire " in the departments of religion and good morals, it is 
appropriate to express in that meeting, to God by prayer, to men by 
exhortation. A man, who represents himself as a member of an 
evangelical church in communion with them, is kidnapped in their 
own city, and about to be enslaved for life in a region where the 
laws forbid him to read the Bible. His friend asks their prayers, 
exhortations, and efforts on his behalf. All these are refused, jointly 
refused by three persons, each a representative of the highest form 
of piety cultivated by that church and that meeting, and refused 
because piety is just then in an unusually flourishing state among 
them.* 

As the anti-slavery cause grows in importance, we 
expect to hear that the New-England clergy will he 
able to assume a more independent position — will be 
able, one and all, to preach down the sentiment 
proclaimed by the Rev. Nehemiah Adams,* in his 

* The vagaries of this and other ' evangelicals ' produced the following 
Resolutions of the New England Anti-slavery Convention, May 1855 : 
* Whereas, the popular religion of the land is thoroughly impregnated with 
the slaveholding spirit, and from the organisation of the government to the 
present time has given its sanction to a colossal and ever-enlarging system 
of robbery, licentiousness, heathenism, and soul-murder, until the victims 
thereof are counted by millions; and whereas, an extensive revival of this 
religion is said to be going on in Boston, under the sanction and with the 
co-operation of such men as the Rev. Dr Nehemiah Adams and the Rev. Dr 
Blagden, the defenders of slavery against every assault upon it; therefore, 
resolved, That the multiplication of converts to such a religion, instead of 
indicating any progress in the cause of justice, freedom, and Christianity, or 
furnishing any occasion for congratulation, is a sure sign of moral degeneracy, 



142 AMERICAN SLAVERY AND COLOUR. 

South-side View of Slavery, that ' While it [the 
constitution] remains, all our appeals to a Higher Law 
are fanaticism.' 

J. G. Birney in a pamphlet, entitled The American 
Churches the Bulwark of Slavery (1840), cites some 
odious passages from the discourses of American 
clergymen, in favour of slavery. One of these says of 
slavery : c It is not a moral evil. It is the Lord's 
doing, and marvellous in our eyes. And had it not 
done for the hest, God alone, who is able, long since 
would have overruled it. It is by divine appointment/ 
We can fancy even southern men being disgusted with 
these sentiments. 

Volumes could be filled with such extracts from 
sermons of American clergymen, not only vindicating 
slavery by the perversion of Scripture in its general 
scope and tendency, but misstating the meaning of the 
plainest texts. In the front rank of Bible-perverters 
stands Bishop Meade, an Episcopal clergyman of 
Virginia, who writes a book of sermons and tracts, 
specially intended to reconcile slaves to their condition. 
In the whole range of literature, there is perhaps 
nothing to match the following address, in which is 



judicial blindness, and pharisaical malignity, to be denounced as an im- 
posture ; and that such a " revival " is only a device of time-serving 
hirelings to withdraw attention from the reforms of the age, and especially 
from the anti-slavery movement ; to affect a zeal for God for the benefit of 
their craft ; and to shield themselves from the condemnation which they 
deserve for their treachery to the rights of man. Resolved, That the charge 
brought by abolitionists against the northern church, that it is the bulwark 
of American slavery, finds its justification in much that transpires in 
what are denominated the religious anniversary meetings ; and as a special 
illustration of our meaning, we would point to the prayer-meeting in the 
Winter Street Church, which was opened with prayer by the Rev. Nehemiah 
Adams — a man standing before the world as the confessed champion of 
slavery, and yet retaining the unimpaired confidence and fellowship of the 
evangelical (so-called) churches.' 



WHAT THE CLERGY THINK OF IT. 143 

systematically perverted one of the clearest Christian 
injunctions. Speaking very solemnly, the bishop 
proceeds : 

* When people die, we know of but two places they have to go to ; 
and one is heaven, the other hell. Now, heaven is a place of great 
happiness, which God has prepared for all that are good, where they 
shall enjoy rest from their labours. And hell is a place of great 
torment and misery, where all wicked people will be shut up with 
the devil and other evil spirits, and be punished for ever, because 
they will not serve God. If, therefore, we would have our souls 
saved by Christ, if we would escape hell, and obtain heaven, we must 
set about doing what he requires of us — that is, to serve God. 
Your own poor circumstances in this life ought to put you parti- 
cularly upon this and taking care of your souls Almighty 

God hath been pleased to make you slaves here, and to give you 
nothing but labour and poverty in this world, which you are obliged 
to submit to, as it is His will that it should be so. And think within 
yourselves what a terrible thing it would be, after all your labours 
and sufferings in this life, to be turned into hell in the next life, 
and, after wearing out your bodies in service here, to go into a far 
worse slavery when this is over, and your poor souls be delivered 
over into the possession of the devil, to become his slaves for 
ever in hell, without any hope of ever getting free from it! If, 
therefore, you would be God's freemen in heaven, you must strive 
to be good and serve Him here on earth. Your bodies, you know, are 
not your own ; they are at the disposal of those you belong to ; but 
your precious souls are still your own, which nothing can take from 
you, if it be not your own fault. Consider well, then, that if you 
lose your souls by leading idle, wicked lives here, you have got 
nothing by it in this world, and you have lost your all in the next. 
For your idleness and wickedness are generally found out, and your 
bodies suffer for it here ; and what is far worse, if you do not repent 
and amend, your unhappy souls will suffer for it hereafter. 

' Having thus shewn you the chief duties you owe to your great 
Master in heaven, I now come to lay before you the duties you owe 
to your masters and mistresses here upon earth. And for this you 
have one general rule, that you ought always to carry in your minds, 
and that is, to do all service for them as if you did it for God himself. 
Poor creatures ! you little consider when you are idle and neglectful 
of your masters' business ; when you steal, and waste, and hurt any 
of their substance ; when you are saucy and impudent ; when you are 
telling them lies and deceiving them ; or when you prove stubborn 
and sullen, and will not do the work you are set about without stripes 
and vexation — you do not consider, I say, that what faults you are 



144 AMERICAN SLAVERY AND COLOUR. 

guilty of towards your masters and mistresses, are faults done against 
God himself, who hath set your masters and mistresses over you in 
His own stead, and expects that you will do for them just as you 
would do for Him. And pray do not think that I want to deceive 
you when I tell you that your masters and mistresses are God's over- 
seers, and that, if you are faulty towards them, God himself will 
punish you severely for it in the next world, unless you repent of it, 
and strive to make amends by your faithfulness and diligence for the 
time to come ; for God himself hath declared the same. 

' And in the first place, you are to be obedient and subject to 

your masters in all things "All things whatsoever ye would 

that men should do unto you, do ye even so unto them;" that is, do 
by all mankind just as you would desire they should do by you, if 
you were in their place, and they in yours. 

1 Now, to suit this rule to your particular circumstances. Suppose 
you were masters and mistresses, and had servants under you, would 
you not desire that your servants should do their business faithfully 
and honestly as well when your back was turned as while you were 
looking over them ? Would you not expect that they should take 
notice of what you said to them, that they should behave themselves 
with respect towards you and yours, and be as careful of every- 
thing belonging to you as you would be yourselves? You are 
servants : do, therefore, as you would wish to be done by, and you 
will be both good servants to your masters, and good servants to 
God, who requires this of you, and will reward you well for it, if you 

do it for the sake of conscience, in obedience to His commands 

Take care that you do not fret, or murmur, or grumble at your 
condition ; for this will not only make your life uneasy, but will 
greatly offend Almighty God. Consider that it is not yourselves — it 
is not the people you belong to — it is not the men that have brought 
you to it, but it is the will of God, who hath by His providence made 
you servants, because, no doubt, He knew that condition would be 
best for you in this world, and help you the better towards heaven, 
if you would but do your duty in it. So that any discontent at your 
not being free, or rich, or great, as you see some others, is quarrelling 
with your heavenly Master, and finding fault with God himself. .... 
There is only one circumstance which may appear grievous that I 
shall now take notice of; and that is correction. 

'Now, when correction is given you, you either deserve it, or you 
do not deserve it. But whether you really deserve it or not, it is 
your duty, and Almighty God requires, that you bear it patiently. 
You may, perhaps, think that this is hard doctrine ; but if you 
consider it rightly, you must needs think otherwise of it. Suppose, 
then, that you deserve correction ; you cannot but say that it is 
just and right you should meet with it. Suppose you do not, or 



WHAT THE CLERGY THINK OF IT. 145 

at least you do not deserve so much or so severe a correction for 
the fault you have committed; you perhaps have escaped a great 
many more, and are at least paid for all. Or suppose you are quite 
innocent of what is laid to your charge, and suffer wrongfully in 
that particular thing; is it not possible you may have done some 
other bad thing which was never discovered, and that Almighty 
God, who saw you doing it, would not let you escape without punish- 
ment one time or another ? And ought you not in such a case to 
give glory to Him, and be thankful that He would rather punish you 
in this life for your wickedness, than destroy your souls for it in 
the next life ? But suppose that even this was not the case — a case 
hardly to be imagined — and that you have by no means, known or 
unknown, deserved the correction you suffered ; there is this great 
comfort in it, that if you bear it patiently, and leave your cause in 
the hands of God, he will reward you for it in heaven, and the 
punishment you suffer unjustly here shall turn to your exceeding 
great glory hereafter.' 

All that need be said is — after this, anything! 
Mrs Stowe (Key to Uncle Tom's Cabin) observes that 
such discourses only 'shew how perfectly use may 
familiarise amiable and estimable men with a system 
of oppression, till they shall have lost all conscious- 
ness of the wrong which it involves.' The bishop, she 
adds, has since emancipated all his slaves. 

By way of variety, we shall conclude with a quota- 
tion from a recent work, entitled The Hireling and the 
Slave, by William J. Grayson, published at Charleston, 
South Carolina, 1856. Mr Grayson is a poet who 
devotes his muse to the praise of southern institutions ; 
and thinks, with Dr Rice, that the negro is brought to 
America for wisely providential purposes, and that 
nothing can equal the comforts of his position as a 
slave. Here is his picture : 

' And yet the life, so unassailed by care, 
So blessed with moderate work, with ample fare, 
With all the good the starving pauper needs 
The happier slave on each plantation leads ; 
Safe from harassing doubts and annual fears, 
He dreads no famine in unfruitful years ; 

j 



146 AMERICAN SLAVERY AND COLOUR. 

If harvests fail, from inauspicious skies, 
The master's providence his food supplies ; 
No paupers perish here for want of bread, 
Or lingering live, by foreign bounty fed ; 
No exiled trains of homeless peasants go, 
In distant climes to tell their tales of wo : 
Far other fortune, free from care and strife, 
For work, or bread, attends the negro's life, 
And Christian slaves may challenge as their own, 
The blessings claimed in fabled states alone — 
The cabin home, not comfortless though rude, 
Light daily labour, and abundant food, 
The sturdy health that temperate habits yield, 
The cheerful song that rings in every field, 
The long, loud laugh, that freemen seldom share, 
Heaven's boon to bosoms unapproached by care, 
And boisterous jest and humour unrefined, 
That leave, though rough, no painful sting behind ; 
While, nestling near, to bless their humble lot, 
Warm social joys surround the negro's cot, 
The evening dance its merriment imparts, 
Love, with its rapture, fills their youthful hearts, 
And placid age, the task of labour done, 
Enjoys the summer shade, the winter sun, 
And, as through life no pauper want he knows, 
Laments no poor-house penance at its close.' 

Mr Grayson subsequently tells his mind freely about 
the whole tribe of fault-finders with slavery. Mrs 
Stowe comes in for a large share of coarse abuse. 



ECONOMIC VIEW OF THE SUBJECT. 

The number of slaves in the United States in 1850, 
as formerly stated, was 3,204,313. The ratio of 
increase differs greatly in different states. While very 
rapid in the more southern, it is comparatively small 
in the more northern slave states; the explanation of 
this being, that there is a breeding and a consuming 
set of states. The increase of slaves in the whole 
slave states, was, between 1790 and 1800, 27*9 per 
cent. ; between 1800 and 1810, 33*4 per cent. ; 
between 1810 and 1820, 29*1 per cent; between 1820 
and 1830, 30*6 per cent.; between 1830 and 1840, 
23*8 per cent. — the average of all these ratios being 
28*96 per cent These statistics are given in a well- 
digested compendium of official documents, by Messrs 
Chase and Sanborn,* who proceed to say : c In 
1840, the slave-exporting states, Delaware, Maryland, 
Virginia, North and South Carolina, Kentucky, 
and Tennessee, contained 1,479,601 slaves. Had 
they increased in the ratio of 28*96 per cent., the 
number in 1850 would have been 1,908,093. The 
actual number given is 1,689,158, being a difference 
of 218,935, or 21,893 for each year to be accounted 
for. Applying the same rule to the slave-import- 
ing states, we have the following result : Georgia, 
Florida, Alabama, Louisiana, Mississippi, Arkansas, 
and Missouri contained, in 1840, 1,002,031 slaves. 
Increasing in the ratio of 28*96 per cent., their 

* The North and the South ; a Statistical View of the Condition of the 
Free and the Slave States. By Henry Chase and Charles W. Sanborn. 
Boston: 1856. 



148 AMERICAN SLAVERY AND COLOUR. 

number in 1850 would have been 1,292,219. The 
number given in the census is 1,453,035 ; a difference 
the other way of 160,816, or 16,081 per year, which 
they had received by importation. The difference of 
nearly 6000 between the import and export may be 
accounted for by the following : a writer in the New 
Orleans Argus, in 1830, says — "The loss by death in 
bringing slaves from a northern climate, which our 
planters are under the necessity of doing, is not less 
than 25 per cent." And the planters in those states, 
when advertising for sale a plantation and a lot of 
negroes, always mention distinctly the fact that they 
are " acclimated " — if that be the case — as enhancing 
their value.' 

According to the best information, the number of 
slaves annually sold from the breeding to the con- 
suming states is estimated at 25,000. As regards the 
value of this amount of ' stock/ a conjecture may be 
hazarded. The price-list furnished to me by a dealer 
at Richmond in 1853, stated the value of 'best men 
18 to 25 years old,' to be 1200 to 1300 dollars; 'fair 
ditto,' 950 to 1050; 'boys 4 feet 5 inches high,' 500 
to 600; 'girls 5 feet high,' 750 to 850; and 'girls of 
4 feet/ 350 to 432. Since that time, slaves have 
considerably risen in price, and are continually rising, 
in consequence of the increasing demand for cotton. 
The average value of male and female negroes raised 
for export, might now be moderately set down at 600 
dollars, at which price the total market-value of the 
25,000 slaves sent southward every year is 15,000,000 
dollars. The negroes exported are usually between 
the ages of 10 and 25; neither infants nor old 
persons being available for the purpose. The trader, 
also, leaves a residuum of defective stock, which 
although fed, doctored, and dressed up for sale, cannot 
easily be disposed of, even at very reduced prices. 



ECONOMIC VIEW OF THE SUBJECT. 149 

I learned in America that there are quack-doctors 
skilful in giving a sleek and robust appearance to 
negroes in poor health; but from the sharp scrutiny 
which I saw exercised by the buyers at public auctions, 
I should imagine it to be much more difficult to push 
off a faulty negro than a faulty horse. 

Taking old and young, of every quality, the average 
value of slaves is quoted by Chase and Sanborn at 400 
dollars each; and on the basis of this calculation, the 
entire value of the slaves in the slave states, in 1850, 
was 1,280,145,600 dollars. The value of the farms in 
the slave states in the same year was 1,117,649,649 
dollars — excess in value of slaves over lands, 
162,495,951 dollars. The number of slaveholders in 
the slave states, in 1850, was 346,048. If each of the 
slaveholders be valued at the average price of his slaves 
(400 dollars), the united value of lands and owners 
will be 1,256,068,849 dollars, or a little less than the 
value of the slaves. 'Thus/ observe our authorities, 
i has the industry and political and domestic economy 
of the slaveholders, in two hundred and thirty years, 
been able to bring the value of their lands and them- 
selves nearly up to the market-value of their slaves; 
and all three together — lands, slaves, and slaveholders 
— to nearly half the value of the property of the free 
states.' 

The contrast between the northern and southern 
states is strongly brought out. In 1850, the value 
of real and personal estate in the free states was 
4,107,162,198 dollars; the value of real and personal 
estate in the slave states, 2,936,090,737 dollars ; but 
deducting value of slaves, as above, the true value in 
slave states was 1,655,945,137. The whole area of the 
free states is 392,062,080 acres, and value of real and 
personal estate, in 1850, 10 dollars 47 cents per acre. 
The area of the slave states is 544,926,720 acres, and 



150 AMERICAN SLAVERY AND COLOUR. 

value of real and personal estate per acre, in 1850, 

3 dollars and 4 cents per acre. According to fresh 
statistical returns in 1856, the value of real and 
personal estate in the free states had then risen to 
14 dollars 72 cents per acre, and the value of the real 
and personal estate in the slave states had reached only 

4 dollars 59 cents per acre. The valuation of the state 
of New York, in 1855, was 1,401,285,279 dollars— a 
sum greater than the whole value of the slave states 
in 1850. The value of real and personal estate of 
Massachusetts, in 1850, was more than that (slaves 
excepted) of the states of Virginia, North and South 
Carolina, Georgia, Florida, and Texas. Massachusetts 
measures 4,992,000 acres; the six slave states just 
mentioned measure 317,576,320 acres. In Massa- 
chusetts, the value of real and personal estate per 
acre was 114 dollars 85 cents per acre; the value of 
the real and personal estate in these six slave states 
was 1 dollar 81 cents per acre. In fact, says the 
authority before us, ' Massachusetts is able to buy 
and pay for considerably more than half the great 
empire of slavery, and have more money left than the 
Pilgrims landed with at Plymouth ; while Pennsylvania 
could easily buy out the other half.' 

It is further shewn, from a close analysis of facts, 
that the effects of slavery and freedom on the value 
of adjacent lands is reciprocal — the proximity of 
slavery lessening the value in the free states, and the 
neighbourhood of freedom raising the value in the 
slave states. The abolition of slavery would in a few 
vears more than treble the value of all the lands of the 
slave states now under culture; and by such increase 
of value, any loss by emancipation would more than 
compensate for the sacrifice. All this is proved 
beyond a doubt by figures. 

The contrast between North and South, with respect 



ECONOMIC VIEW OF THE SUBJECT. 151 

to education, libraries, and other agencies of social 
improvement, is not less striking. Not to tire with 
dry statistics, we shall present only a few of the more 
remarkable particulars. The number of public schools 
in the slave states is 18,507; in the free states, 62,433. 
Number of scholars in slave states, 581,861 ; in free 
states, 2,769,901. In the slave states, there are 
in private academies and schools, 104,976 scholars. 
But comparing the number of pupils at public and 
private establishments, North and South, the free 
states have a majority of 2,241,046, being three times 
the entire number attending school in the slave 
states. The money expended annually on schools in 
the slave states is 4,799,258 dollars; and in the free 
states, 9,237,709 dollars. Ohio, a free state, is not 
quite two-thirds as large as Virginia; Virginia has 
77,764: scholars, and Ohio has 502,826. Virginia has 
been settled upwards of two centuries; Ohio, about 
sixty years since. Virginia occupies one of the finest 
situations in the world, on the coast of the Atlantic; 
Ohio is a thousand miles inland. In 1854, Virginia 
expended for the education of poor children, 69,404 
dollars; for the maintenance of a public guard, 
73,189 dollars. The New-England States, with an area 
less than one-twelfth greater, appropriated 2,000,000 
dollars for public schools, and felt secure without a 
guard. In the same year, Kentucky expended on 
public schools, 146,047 dollars; Ohio, adjoining it, 
appropriated 2,266,609 dollars. The number of native 
white citizens who cannot read or write, in the free 
states, is 248,725 ; and in the slave states, 493,026 — a 
number about twice as great, in a population of far less 
than half. The number of native white adults who 
cannot read and write, in Tennessee, is 77,017, in a 
white population of 756,836; the number in New 
York, 23,241, in a white population of 3,048,325. In 



152 AMERICAN SLAVERY AND COLOUR. 

Virginia, there are 75,868 native whites over twenty 
years of age who can neither read nor write ; North 
Carolina, 73,226; Georgia, 40,794; Kentucky, 64,340. 
The number of white inhabitants in the state of New 
Hampshire is 174,232. Among these, the number of 
native adults who cannot read and write is 893, or 1 
in 201 ; in Connecticut, it is 1 in 277 ; in Vermont, 
1 in 284; in Massachusetts, 1 in 517. Applying the 
same test to the slave states — in South Carolina it 
is 1 in 7; in Virginia, 1 in 5; in North Carolina, 
lin3. 

The total number of volumes in the public libraries 
in the slave states, is 649,577; in those of the free 
states, 3,888,234 — 6 to 1. The Sunday-school libraries 
of the North are nearly twice as great as all the college 
libraries of the South. The very small state of Rhode 
Island has more volumes in her libraries than Virginia. 
The daily press of the South issues 47,000,000 copies 
annually; the North, 181,000,000 copies annually. 
One New York paper has a circulation about half as 
large as all the daily papers of the slave states. The 
number of copies of scientific papers printed in the 
slave states is 372,000; in Massachusetts alone, the 
number is 2,000,000 — more than five times as many. 

Chase and Sanborn give some useful explanations 
concerning representation. ( The number of free 
inhabitants in the slave states is 6,412,605 ; and in the 
free states, 13,434,686. The number of freemen in the 
free states is, therefore, over 600,000 more than double 
the number in the slave states. The representation in 
congress is, from the slave states, ninety members, 
representing the 6,000,000 ; and from the free states, 
144, representing the 13,000,000. This discrepancy 
between population and representation arises from the 
fact that, in determining the number of representatives 
to which each state is entitled, five slaves are reckoned 



ECONOMIC VIEW OF THE SUBJECT. 153 

equal to three freemen. The 3,200,304 slaves, 
therefore, in the slave states are reckoned equal to 
I,920,182f freemen, and are represented accordingly. 
The slaves of the South have, therefore, a representation 
equal to that of the free states of New Hampshire, 
Vermont, Connecticut, Iowa, and Wisconsin. Without 
the representation allowed to slave property, the 
number of representatives from the slave states would 
be 75, instead of 90; and from the free states, 159, 
instead of 144 — a gain of 30 in favour of the free 
states ; making their representation double that of the 
slave states, even without the representation of Rhode 
Island, Wisconsin, California, and Iowa. It will be 
seen that in the late severe contests in the House of 
Representatives, had freemen only been represented, 
the question would invariably have been decided in 
favour of the North.' 

Of the 346,048 slaveholders in the slave states, it 
appears from the census tables, that ' 173,204 hold less 
than five slaves, leaving 1 72,844 who are holders of more 
than four slaves ; and if we deduct the numbers holding 
less than ten slaves, there will remain 92,215. The 
whole number of slaveholders, then, is less than 350,000, 
including females and minors. The number of voters 
in this class is therefore much smaller/ shewing an 
immense balance in favour of the North, in point of 
power at elections. 

Then, take agricultural produce, there is the same 
preponderance in favour of the North. In 1850, the 
value of the agricultural produce in the free states was 
358,634,334 dollars, or 342 dollars per head; in the 
slave states, 631,277,417 dollars, or 171 dollars per 
head. ' The North/ adds our authority, ' with half as 
much land under cultivation, and two-thirds as many 
persons engaged in farming, produces 227,000,000 
dollars' worth of agricultural produce in a year more 



154 AMERICAN SLAVERY AND COLOUR. 

than tlie South; twice as much on an acre, and more 
than double the value per head of every person engaged 
in farming.' This occurs, while the South paying 
nothing in the form of wages for labour, has better 
land, a monopoly of cotton, rice, cane-sugar, and nearly 
so of tobacco and hemp, with above all, a climate 
yielding two, and sometimes three, crops in a year. 

Compare South and North in the matter of manu- 
factures. In the slave states, the capital employed in 
manufactures is 64,196,736 dollars; hands employed, 
104,101; annual product, 95,116,284 dollars. As re- 
gards the free states, the capital invested is 467,015,720 
dollars ; hands employed, 838,212 ; the annual product, 
942,882,801 dollars. The value of the products which 
enter into the commerce of the two sections, in 1850, 
was, for free states, 1,377,199,968 dollars; slave states, 
410,754,992 dollars. While the North employs in 
commerce 188,271 hands, the South employs 70,165. 
The length of railroads in the free states in 1854 was 
13,105 miles; slave states, 4212 miles. Canals in free 
states, 3682 miles; slave states, 1116 miles. In 1855, 
the tonnage of vessels was five times as much in the 
North as in the South. The tonnage built this year in 
Massachusetts was 79,670 tons; in South Carolina, 61 
tons. The tonnage built in Maine alone was four 
times greater than that built in the whole slave states. 
Even of that built in the South, the tonnage is the 
work of northern and foreign mechanics. In the case 
of a dissolution of the Union, and hostilities between 
the North and South, the highest naval science, and 
large amount of capital, would need to be called into 
requisition by the South, in order to protect its seven 
thousand miles of exposed sea-coast. 

The South is continually projecting schemes for 
extending commerce, manufactures, literature, every- 
thing; but national wealth is not a result of talk, but 



ECONOMIC VIEW OF THE SUBJECT. 155 

of combined intelligence and industry. An English 
traveller fears that the South will aggravate its pecu- 
liar institutions by employing slaves in manufactures. 
Such apprehensions are groundless. Skilled labour 
infers education, and that is totally irreconcilable with 
slavery, by maintaining which, the South restricts itself 
to the rudest kind of unskilled operations, leaves the 
finest water-power in the world unused, places itself in 
a condition of dependence on northern ingenuity. 

The extent of correspondence by letters is usually an 
indication of the degree of mental and commercial 
activity. It appears that the amount paid for postages 
in the South does not pay expenses of transportation 
by over 800,000 dollars, while the free-state postages 
more than pay expenses by over 2,000,000 dollars. 
The slave states get their letters carried at the expense 
of the free states, which pay their own expenses besides. 
The value of the churches in the slave states is 
21,674,581 dollars; in the free states, 67,773,477 
dollars. The churches in New York equal in value all 
the churches in the fifteen slave states. 

These are instructive particulars. They conclusively 
shew the relative inferior position of the South ; and 
the wonder grows how a section of the Union which 
has so little to boast of, should have had the address 
to obtain supreme command. Political supremacy, 
however, cannot compensate for social decay. As 
almost every natural aptitude for prosperity is in favour 
of the South, the only reasonable explanation of the 
backward condition revealed by statistics, is the blight 
of slavery. On that, if the South were wise, its mind 
should rest. Judiciously disregarding all extraneous 
circumstances, we can imagine that its true course 
would be to consider whether slavery, though possibly 
advantageous to a limited number of individuals, is not 
an insurmountable obstacle to general prosperity. Not 



150 AMERICAN SLAVERY AND COLOUR. 

alone from official statistics, but from a variety of 
details gathered from other sources, we can see that 
slavery is an error in social economics, independently 
of its moral pollutions. 

Slavery, as has been stated, gradually disappeared in 
the northern states, by the plan of allowing the slaves 
to die out; all born after a certain date being free. 
We observe, by the census tables, that as lately as 
1820, there were in Rhode Island 48 slaves; Con- 
necticut, 97; New York, 10,088; New Jersey, 7657. 
In 1830, there were in Rhode Island 17; Connecticut, 
25; New York, 75; New Jersey, 2254. In 1840, 
there were in Rhode Island 5 ; Connecticut, 1 7 ; New 
York, 4; New Jersey, 674. Advancing to 1850, the 
whole had died out in Rhode Island, Connecticut, and 
New York, and there remained in New Jersey only 
236, in the character of apprentices. Slavery was 
abolished in New York in 1825, and this act of justice 
and humanity may be said to have taken place from 
a deliberate conviction that there could be no sound 
prosperity or social advancement so long as the insti- 
tution lasted. Of the change effected by emancipation, 
we have some account in the work of the late Mr 
Johnston, who visited the States on an agricultural tour 
a few years ago.* This intelligent observer resided 
for some days with Dr Beekman at Kinderhook on 
the Hudson; and his host, referring to the times of 
slavery, mentioned the following circumstances, to 
which we call the attention of gentlemen in the slave 
states generally, and more particularly those in 
Maryland, Virginia, and Kentucky : 

'■ Those were the times when only the blacks laboured. 
The white man considered himself above labour. The 



* Notes on North America. By J. F. W. Johnston, Lecturer on 
Chemistry, University of Durham. 2 vols. 1851. 



ECONOMIC VIEW OF THE SUBJECT. 157 

work of the slaves had to support the white man and 
his family, besides themselves and their own families. 
With the useless mouths to feed, and useless hacks to 
clothe, he was considered a successful farmer who could 
make both ends meet. 

'It was then the custom for the white men, both 
old and young, of a neighbourhood, by eleven o'clock 
in the morning, to collect at the nearest public-houses. 
In many townships there were scores of these, and 
Kinderhook had its share. Here they remained talking 
and drinking till early dinner-time, returned again by 
five in the afternoon, and spent the evening, till pro- 
bably midnight, in drinking, gambling, cock-fighting, 
horse-racing, or perhaps fighting among themselves. 
Idleness led the way to immorality, and to frequent 
ruin on the part of the whites. 

'But when the abolition of slavery came — "Who 
will till our farms?" it was asked; "we shall all be 
ruined." But gradually good sense overcame pre- 
judice. The freed blacks were at first hired as 
labourers, but white labour gradually took its place 
— and now "the dignity of labour" is the watchword 
of a powerful party in the confederation. The sons of 
the farmer, instead of spending their time in idleness 
and dissipation, from a kind of necessity, became 
first producers, and afterwards intelligent interested 
improvers. Old uncomfortable houses gave way to 
new and commodious ones. The outbuildings were 
enlarged, improved, and made ornamental. Waste land 
has been brought into cultivation; fences erected that 
will secure the crops; the stock changed into objects 
of beauty as well as profit; roads, bridges, school- 
houses, and churches completed — all these things are 
creditable to us, as we are now an industrious, thriving, 
intelligent, moral, and religious people. Such I have 
seen to be the fruits of free labour ; and whereas in 



j 



158 AMERICAN SLAVERY AND COLOUR. 

those days money to borrow could scarcely be met 
with, I know that the rural population of 4000, now 
living round this place, have at least a million of 
dollars lent, and at interest. This is the fearful ordeal 
which the growers of wheat by slave-labour, in 
Maryland and Virginia, dread to encounter; though 
experience proves it to be the sure way to independence, 
comfort, and wealth.' 

Are we to assume that, for the sake of exporting 
fifteen millions of dollars' worth of negroes, annually, 
from Virginia and adjacent states, slavery is inflicted 
like a chronic disease on the community? It is, we 
believe, at least undeniable, that but for the power 
exercised by slave breeders and dealers, Virginia would 
speedily be added to the number of free states. Olmsted 
says there are in Virginia f a very large number of 
voters, strongly desirous, either from selfish or other 
motives, that the state should be free from slavery.' 
But no candidate who advocated freedom, would be 
allowed to open his mouth publicly on the subject. All 
the ordinary means of collecting assemblages would be 
denied him ; all the newspapers, bar-room orators, and 
clergy would be against him ; and the poor traders and 
mechanics, fearful of offending their customers, would 
not dare to support him. Thus, local efforts to suppress 
slavery are, in present circumstances, impracticable. 

Mr Olmsted compares the start in life of a farmer 
in the free state of Iowa, and that of a planter in 
Texas. Each has the same amount of capital. The 
Iowan hires his labour, buys the best implements, and, 
besides, contributes to the construction of churches, 
schools, railways, and other public works. The Texan 
sinks his capital in buying negroes, and is embarrassed 
at the outset. He can help forward no improvements, 
can buy no improved implements, but must employ 
' such rude substitutes as his stupid, uninstructed, and 



ECONOMIC VIEW OF THE SUBJECT. 159 

uninterested slaves can readily make in his ill-furnished 
plantation workshop. 7 It is true, the keep of the slaves 
is less than the wages paid to the free workmen ; yet, 
this is an illusory benefit. The planter has to support 
old and young, occasionally lose a slave by death or 
escape, and he lives in a moral desert, terribly annoyed 
with his servants, whom he declares to be the laziest 
rascals in existence. The Iowan hires only those 
hands whom he really wants. The wages he gives 
them are spent in the neighbourhood, and form a fund 
for all kinds of public and private improvements. By 
means of these improvements — railways, for example 
— the whole operations of the free-state farmer are 
facilitated. His outlays return to him fourfold. He 
is at ease; the minds of his children are not tainted 
by the sights and sounds which accompany slavery. 
If the Texan gets rich in slaves, he has few public 
advantages; and just as he attains opulence, he finds 
that his lands are becoming exhausted, and that the 
produce of labour is sensibly diminishing. 

The answer of the planters to remonstrances against 
slavery would of course be, that by no other means 
could their sugar, rice, or cotton plantations be culti- 
vated — there is no body of free labourers, supposing 
that free labour was desirable — were the slaves eman- 
cipated, they would not work for hire, and consequently 
would become a nuisance, as the North declares the 
free coloured population to be. We can suppose that 
such would be the aggregate answer; for we have 
repeatedly seen something of the kind in the southern 
newspapers. The answer is worthy of more calm con- 
sideration from the opponents of slavery than it has 
usually received. 

To fortify its argument, the South appeals to the 
case of the planters in the British West Indies; 
ruined, as they allege, by emancipation. The West 



160 AMERICAN SLAVERY AND COLOUR. 

Indian proprietary was in an unwholesome condition 
in 1833, perhaps as bad as was the Irish proprietary, 
until rectified by the Encumbered Estates Court. 
Possibly, the southern proprietary, take it all in all, 
is not much better, as we hear occasionally of northern 
holders of mortgages — New York merchants, probably 
standing in the same relation to Louisiana as did those 
of Liverpool and London to Jamaica. So far, then, 
there is perhaps some analogy between the financial 
position of American and British West Indian planters. 
That emancipation greatly dislocated labour in the West 
Indies, is beyond a doubt; nor could such a sudden 
change take place without less or more social disturb- 
ance. The plans of gradual emancipation pursued in 
the Northern states were, however, attended with so 
little difficulty to farmers, notwithstanding their fears 
on the subject, as ought to convince the South that 
processes of emancipation are not in all circumstances 
ruinous. 

In the bountifulness of a sub-tropical climate, we 
are aware that persons of idle habits, reared under 
forced labour, will be inclined to depend more on 
simple natural products for subsistence than on settled 
wages. But from this state of demoralisation there 
is a rebound, as is instanced in the British colonies. 
Things right themselves at last. On this point, we 
cannot do better than offer some remarks which lately 
appeared in an ably conducted print, the Anti-slavery 
Advocate : * 

'The impression, we believe, prevails among the 
American planters, that the British West Indies are 
rapidly returning to a state of nature; and especially 
are fast abandoning the sugar-cane, as too much for 
the energies of free labour. Happily, the commercial 



* XTnml 



Number for February 1857. Tweedie, Strand, London. 



ECONOMIC VIEW OF THE SUBJECT. 161 

returns dispel this ridiculous illusion. Slavery was 
abolished by the Act of 1833 ; the system of forced 
labour being still continued for some years under the 
name of apprenticeship, and the monopoly by differ- 
ential duties remaining unbroken until 1845. If we 
take the produce of the three years 1835, 1845, and 
1855, we shall see at a glance, 1st, The latest achieve- 
ments of the slave system with protection duties; 
2dly } The result of free labour without free trade; 
and 3dly, The most recent operation of a system doubly 
free. In the first of the three selected years, our slave 
colonies (West Indies and Mauritius) furnished for 
home consumption only, 178,000 tons of sugar and 
molasses; in the second, 180,626; in the third, 
211,631. Thus the free produce, instead of dwindling 
away in obedience to prediction, has increased about 
19 per cent. Still, while defending the results of the 
great British experiment from misapprehension, we are 
far from denying that the curse of slavery has been 
redeemed by vast effort and sacrifice. Nor could it 
be removed from the adjacent continent without still 
greater and more protracted loss, during the transition 
to a better system. Under slavery alone do men exist 
for the mere soil's sake. With freedom, nature 
reasserts her rights, and the soil is found to exist for 
the sake of men : and as in Jamaica, so in America, 
the labourer, left at his own disposal, will be content 
with the kind and degree of work which suffices to 
supply his customary wants. It is not reasonable to 
expect from the African, trained in the worship of 
idleness, a spontaneous and superfluous industry. The 
energy which only the competition of numbers extorts 
from a white peasantry, will reserve itself for the same 
stimulus among the coloured races.' The writer 
candidly adds, that it would be { a waste of time to 
discuss the relative cheapness or clearness of free labour 

K 



162 AMERICAN SLAVERY AND COLOUR. 

under conditions which tempt it to retire from market 
altogether. Such conditions, we fear, are present over 
a large area in the southern states, and constrain us to 
admit a powerful, though not permanent, economic 
interest in favour of the existing system.'* 

The South is, happily, not without examples of 
successful free rural labour within the slave states. 
There are now nourishing colonies of New Englanders 
and other settlers in Western Virginia, Scotch in 
Georgia, and more particularly Germans in Texas — 
these latter already considerable in numbers. We 
shall immediately call attention to the account of 
a thriving German settlement given by Mr Olmsted, 
who visited it in 1856. The same writer has done 
good service to his country in describing the in- 
dustrial arrangements on a large rice-plantation in 

Georgia, belonging to a Mr X , whose treatment 

of his ' servants ' is of the most exemplary kind. To 
all the slaves, tasks are assigned according to their 
ability. The tasks are so moderate, that many finish 
their labour at three or four o'clock in the afternoon ; 
and they can employ the remainder of the day in 
labouring for themselves. They are allowed half-acre 
lots of land, besides a garden, to cultivate on their 
own behalf. They are likewise at liberty to keep swine 
and fowls. All they do not need for themselves, they 
sell. The family of Mr X— — — have no other supply 

* 'At a meeting held in the Mansion House, London, January 5, 1857, for 
the purpose of presenting a testimonial to Dr Livingstone, Mr Montgomery 
Martin stated that he had recently visited the West Indies, to ascertain if the 
emancipation of the slaves had produced ruin there. " He found there a free, 
happy, and prosperous population; and, speaking commercially, the West 
Indies now yielded more rum, sugar, and other produce, than it had ever done 
during the existence of slavery. Since the abolition of slavery in the West 
Indies, not a drop of blood was shed — not a single crime was committed — 
nor was there any destruction of property throughout the whole of the West 
Indies." ' 



ECONOMIC VIEW OF THE SUBJECT. 163 

of poultry and eggs than what is so obtained from their 
own negroes; they also purchase game from them. 
By these various means, the slaves realise money, and 
actually become creditors of their master. At the 

time of Mr Olmsted's visit, Mr X owed his 

slaves 1500 dollars. 

The picture here presented is truly suggestive. We 
are sure our readers will be glad to see the result at 
which Mr Olmsted arrives. "The ascertained prac- 
ticability of thus dealing with slaves, together with the 
obvious advantages of the method of working them 
by tasks, which I have described, seem to me to indi- 
cate that it is not so impracticable as is generally 
supposed, if only it was desired by those having the 
power, to rapidly extinguish slavery, and while doing 
so, to educate the negro for taking care of himself, in 
freedom. *■ Let, for instance, any slave be provided with 
all things he will demand, as far as practicable, and 
charge him for them at certain prices — honest, market 
prices for his necessities, higher prices for harmless 
luxuries, and excessive, but not absolutely prohibitory, 
prices for everything likely to do him harm. Credit 
him, at a fixed price, for every day's work he does, 
and for all above a certain easily accomplished task in 
a day, at an increased price, so that his reward will 
be in an increasing ratio to his perseverance. Let the 
prices of provisions be so proportioned to the price of 
taskwork, that it will be about as easy as it is now 
for him to obtain a bare subsistence. When he has 
no food and shelter due him, let him be confined in 
solitude, or otherwise punished, until he asks for 
opportunity to earn exemption from punishment by 
labour. 

f When he desires to marry, and can persuade any 
woman to marry him, let the two be dealt with as in 
partnership. Thus, a young man or young woman will 



164 AMERICAN SLAVERY AND COLOUR. 

be attractive, somewhat in proportion to his or her 
reputation for industry and providence. Thus industry 
and providence "will become fashionable. Oblige them 
to purchase food for their children, and let them have 
the benefit of their children's labour, and they -will be 
careful to teach their children to avoid waste, and to 
honour labour. Let those who have not gained credit 
while hale and young, sufficient to support themselves 
in comfort when prevented by age or infirmity from 
further labour, be supported by a tax upon all the 
negroes of the plantation, or of a community. Im- 
providence, and pretence of inability to labour, will 
then be disgraceful. 

1 When any man has a balance to his credit equal to 
his value as a slave, let that constitute him a free man. 
It will be optional with him and his employer, whether 
he shall continue longer in the relation of servant. 
If desirable for both that he should, it is probable that 
he will; for unless he is honest, prudent, industrious, 
and discreet, he will not have acquired the means of 
purchasing his freedom.' 

Our author adds, that such a system would partake 
of the emancipation law of Cuba, where, he says, 
' every slave has the privilege of emancipating himself, 
by paying a price which does not depend upon the 
selfish exactions of the masters; but it is either a fixed 
price, or else is fixed, in each case, by disinterested 
appraisers. The consequence is, that emancipations 
are constantly going on, and the free people of colour 
are becoming enlightened, cultivated, and wealthy. In 
no part of the United States do they occupy the high 
social position which they enjoy in Cuba/ 

It is exceedingly to be regretted, that the South, 
for whatever reason, should reject explanations on 
matters of this kind ; for from the facts above advanced 
from credible authorities, the planters do themselves 



ECONOMIC VIEW OF THE SUBJECT. 165 

less than justice by the course they have hitherto 
thought fit to pursue. Perhaps they unite in the 
common belief, that cotton could not possibly be culti- 
vated by free white labour. Olmsted's description of the 
German colony of New-Braunfels, in Texas, puts this 
notion to flight. He found hundreds of small farms 
on which cotton was cultivated year after year by white 
farmers and their families — 'the result, a total of 
800 bales, which, at Galveston, brought from one to 
two cents a pound more than that produced by slaves, 
owing to the more careful handling of white and 
personally interested labour.' He adds, that these 800 
bales, though a drop in the bucket to the whole crop, 
are a very substantial evidence of the possibilities of not 
only white, but well-regulated free labour in the South.' 

We can readily understand that the present urgent 
demand for cotton, indisposes planters to run any risks 
in exchanging slave for free black, and it may be, free 
white labour. They must at the same time feel, how- 
ever, that their tenure of slave-property is far from 
secure — that they sleep on a volcano, which may any 
day overwhelm them and their possessions — or, at the 
very least, that, from revelations recently made of 
southern policy, the sentiments of every civilised nation 
are setting more steadily against them. 

There are other considerations. We have reason to 
believe that a considerable and steadily directed effort 
will speedily be made, in Great Britain, to procure sup- 
plies of cotton from India and Africa, where, by means 
of cheap labour, improved machinery, railways, English 
capital, and other advantages, it is hoped that the cotton 
produce will rise materially in quantity and quality. 
This effort arises from no bad feeling towards American 
planters, but from the circumstance, that they cannot 
send us a sufficient supply of cotton, great as that is — 
1,758,301 bags in 1856; the total consumption of all 



166 AMERICAN SLAVERY AND COLOUR. 

kinds of cotton in Great Britain, per annum, being 
2,468,160 packages, and more wanted. It is not 
expected that the demand for the finer kinds of 
American cotton will be lessened; yet, the successful 
opening of fresh fields of culture could hardly fail to 
act in the usual way of competition, by lowering prices, 
and ultimately diverting trade into new channels. 
The anti-slavery party in England look with no little 
interest on this movement. 



WHAT IS TO BE DONE? 

The reader has been conducted through a history — 
such as it is — of American slavery, and been made 
acquainted with some prominent features in its 
character. He perceives that, as a carefully nourished 
institution, it imparts a tone to the whole social system 
of the United States, interweaves itself with the 
national constitution, laws, usages, sentiments, the 
most vital principles of public polity. 

Though marvellous in many respects, this institution 
has not seemingly attained its full proportions. It is 
still growing. Sixty-seven years ago, under a million — 
now approaching five millions — soon there will be ten 
millions of human beings in the condition of ( chattels 
personal' — a nation of slaves within a nation of free- 
men, a people dangerous in their numbers and sense 
of wrongs, dangerous as an engine of intestine discords 
in the event of hostilities with an unscrupulous foreign 
enemy. 

Can no practicable measures be devised to arrest this 
monster evil in its desolating course? We may be 
better able to reply to this inquiry after glancing at 
the causes which have conspired to bring about 
present results. 

Fir sty and at the foundation of the whole mischief, 
lie the provisions of the federal constitution, which, as 
formerly shewn, pledge the whole states to maintain 
slavery inviolate in any individual state where it exists 
— which authorise a method of representation in the 
House of Representatives, based on a certain numerical 
proportion of slaves; whereby the southern faction 



1G3 AMERICAN SLAVERY AND COLOUR. 

gains thirty votes — and which, by giving national 
efficacy to a fugitive slave law, bring the whole country 
within the operation of southern institutions. 

Practically, the constitution of the United States is 
incapable of change. To amend it, there would need 
to be a very effective rousing of public feeling through- 
out the various states. Congress must be besieged with 
petitions — which would have little effect, constituted 
as that body now is. Supposing this difficulty to be 
overcome, a proposal for amendment must be concurred 
in by two-thirds of both branches of congress — 
hopeless. Supposing this difficulty also overcome, 
conventions to take the matter into consideration 
must be called by the legislatures of the several 
states. Lastly, the decision of the conventions must 
be ratified by three-fourths of the states ; by which is 
inferred the consent of six of the slave states — hopeless. 
To all appearance, therefore, reform is constitutionally 
impossible. 

Second. With such constitutional advantages in its 
favour, as well as by superior address, the southern 
party has obtained such political supremacy, as enables 
it to secure northern votes. Having thus a majority 
in congress, it has from time to time, by legislative 
measures, extended slavery over newly acquired terri- 
tories; and judging from recent elections, it has now a 
greater power of doing so than ever. 

Third. Northern selfishness, by which freedom and 
independence are bartered for place, pay, commercial 
monopoly, and other material interests. 

Fourth — although this might almost be placed first 
— There is the universal desire to support the Union, 
which, having attained great eminence and glory, is, 
right or wrong, idolised to a very extraordinary degree. 

Fifth. Fears of destroying this object of worship, 
along with the blinding effects of political partisanship, 



WHAT IS TO BE DONE? 163 

produce a Public Opinion that acts despotically in sup- 
pressing freedom of speech ; wherefore, all who express 
a detestation of slavery, and agitate for its restriction 
or extinction, are proscribed as e abolitionists ' — a name, 
in popular acceptation, synonymous with everything 
that is infamous. 

Sixth. The propagation of corrupt doctrines by 
religious teachers of almost every denomination, to 
the effect that slavery is an institution beneficently 
designed by Providence for the spiritual welfare of its 
victims. And along with this agency may be classed 
the dissemination of pro-slavery sentiments, and the 
ridicule of anti-slavery efforts, by a great part of the 
press, which takes its tone from Public Opinion. 

Seventh. The prejudice respecting colour throughout 
the greater part of the free states ; and the notion, 
generally, that the negro is from nature of an inferior 
and servile race. 

Eighth. The continually growing demand for cotton, 
before which every consideration of humanity, or dread 
of consequences, disappears. 

Some other causes might be assigned ; as, for 
example, party violence by mobs at elections, by 
which quietly disposed and respectable persons are 
driven from the field of politics, and power handed 
over to those who aim as much at selfish ends as the 
public advantage. And then, to account for these 
scenes of violence, as well as for much newspaper 
abuse, we might allude to the strange practice of dis- 
charging almost all government-officers and appointing 
new ones, according to political changes, by which 
a state of disorder is kept up in the country by all 
classes of office-seekers. 

Out of this complication of causes, we leave any 
one to say how American slavery is to be alleviated. 
Congress has only a power of restraining it from 



170 AMERICAN SLAVERY AND COLOUR. 

entering the territories — and even this power is not 
undisputed. Slavery can be legally abolished only by 
the separate action of each individual state ; and within 
each slave state there exists a dominating power, 
apparently impervious to any reasonable proposition 
on the subject. Not even the respective legislatures 
of these states could relax the slave code,, without a 
very general consent of the people. In the matter 
of slavery, Vigilance Committees are above all law. 
And measures for emancipation, supposing them 
attempted, might be followed by revolution. 

It is not to be supposed that an evil so conspicuous, 
so fraught with probabilities of mischief, and, to say 
the least of it, so damaging to the character of those 
by whom it is cherished, should have escaped the 
notice of Americans. But unfortunately, it has never 
attained the position of a public or generally discussed 
question — it seems as though an impression prevailed 
that nothing could be made of it, or that for certain 
reasons it was improper to speak of it at all. Slavery, 
in short, is a kind of tabooed subject in the States. It 
is not an agreeable thing to think of, certainly not to 
talk about. 

When tourists, in their curiosity to arrive at the 
truth, refer to this grievous evil, they find little to put 
in their note-book. The best they get is the pious 
remark, 'that slavery is one of those sad evils which 
will doubtless pass away in God's own good time/ 
And, thus, worthy people consoling themselves with a 
highly edifying sentiment, go placidly to sleep, and 
leave slavery to take its chance. It must be deemed 
odd that this great people, renowned for their shrewd- 
ness, should for any reason shrink from the open 
discussion of a social question which so intimately 
concerns their welfare. { Abolition ' haunts them like a 
spectre. Let us have a look at this terrible apparition. 



WHAT IS TO BE DONE i 171 

A number of years ago, there sprung up anti-slavery 
societies, differing considerably in their views. Some 
of the older associations have disappeared, others with 
more vitality have become permanent. The American 
Anti-slavery Society, located at New York, takes the 
lead among existing institutions. Massachusetts has 
several associations in vigorous operation, the chief one, 
as we believe, being called the Massachusetts Anti- 
slavery Society, which began in 1832, and holds annual 
festivals of much oratorical importance. This society 
was formed e on the ground of the Absolute Sin of 
Slaveholding, and the Duty of Immediate and Uncon- 
ditional Emancipation. 7 The president is William Lloyd 
Garrison; and among the office-bearers or adherents 
are other leading abolitionists — Wendell Phillips, 
Samuel May, Edmund Quincey, Maria M. Chapman, 
Lucy Stone, Lucretia Mott, and Theodore Parker. 
The abolitionists, represented by these and similar 
societies, will make no compromise on the subject of 
slavery; nor do they design to work through religious 
or political organisations. They declare, there is an 
inherent wickedness in slavery, with which there can 
be no association. It is not clear to us from their 
writings what is their plan for effecting ' immediate 
emancipation.' We presume, they merely insist that 
the whole of the slaves should be instantly liberated, 
without compensation to owners, and without any 
preparation, educational or otherwise, for the enjoy- 
ment of freedom. A number of the members are 
Non-resistants — a class of persons who repudiate the 
federal constitution, and decline to take any part in 
elections. Those who entertain these ultra views, 
desire to dissolve the Union, in order to be entirely 
rid of any connection with the South. 

Next comes the Liberty party, which also advocates 
immediate emancipation, but does not think so badly of 



172 AMERICAN SLAVERY AND COLOUR. 

the constitution, and accordingly is opposed to a dis- 
solution of the Union. Its members do not withdraw 
from their church relations, on account of slavery, and 
hope to effect their purposes by moderate means. 
Many of the party are connected with societies, which 
rely on the diffusion of religious knowledge in the 
South as one of the best plans for promoting anti- 
slavery sentiments in that quarter. 

We believe the Liberty party is now pretty nearly 
swallowed up in the new Republican party. Europeans 
have heard much lately of the Republicans, and it is 
interesting to know what really is their anti-slavery 
doctrine. In point of fact, they are not abolitionists at 
all. No doubt, many members would wish immediate 
emancipation, and their papers and orations in favour 
of liberty are unexceptionable. But the members gene- 
rally are only Free-soilers. They disclaim any intention 
of meddling with slavery where it exists, and will be 
satisfied with seeing it kept out of the territories, which 
would doubtless be a great point gained. They do not 
advocate a dissolution of the Union ; though it is not 
unlikely, should other projects fail, that they will 
come to that. They have confident anticipations of 
carrying Fremont as president in 1860, and live on in 
this hope. To this great political organisation belong 
Charles Sumner, Hall, Giddings, Chase, Henry Ward 
Bcecher, Seward, and Horace Greeley. 

Finally, we might mention the party called Union- 
savers, represented by Fillmore, who look upon slavery 
as a bad thing in principle, but deprecate all agitation 
on the subject. By lending themselves politically 
to the democrats, they sink the question of slavery 
altogether, and serve materially to impose that restraint 
on free opinion which is so injurious to the cause of 
freedom. 

It will be observed that among these parties there 



WHAT IS TO BE DONE? 173 

is only one entitled to be called true abolitionists ; all 
the others postponing the question of emancipation, 
or subordinating it to certain political and religious 
considerations. 

As a reason for persecuting abolitionists, it has been 
alleged that their object is to stir up mischief in the 
South; that by means of tracts and other agencies, 
they endeavour to spread incendiary doctrines, and 
place the owners of slaves in constant danger of 
insurrection and loss of property. It is further 
alleged, that the laws against teaching slaves to read, 
are a consequence of these attempts to promote dis- 
content through the press; and that the proceedings 
of abolitionists generally having greatly exasperated 
the slaveholders, the condition of slaves was now very 
much worse than if there had been no abolition 
movement. There is perhaps some truth, but also 
some error, in these statements.* 

It may, we think, be candidly admitted, that the 
ultra-abolitionists — like the old English Puritans and 
the Scotch Covenanters — take extreme views of the 
subject, are rather intractable, and, from conscientious 
but not extensively appreciated motives, do not scruple 
to denounce what they consider to be a great national 
sin. Thus, they give offence. Their language is occa- 
sionally coarse and irreverent. For example, one of 
Garrison's common expressions is, that 'the United 
States constitution is a Covenant with Death, and an 

* According to the Baltimore American, slaves are now much better 
treated than formerly : ' Though abolitionists may disguise the fact, the 
general current of legislation at the South for years past has been in favour 
of the slave. His rights have been more looked after, his person better 
protected ; and when these ends have not been sought by positive enactment, 
the gradual but firm influence of the moral sentiment of the people has 
tended practically to the most beneficial amelioration of his condition.' 
If this be correct, what becomes of the charge that the proceedings of 
abolitionists have greatly aggravated the hardships of the slaves ? 



174 AMERICAN SLAVERY AND COLOUR. 

Agreement with Hell' — an abuse of Scriptural phrase- 
ology not exactly accordant with modern notions. It 
may be also allowed that the anti-slavery cause has 
been sullied by unseemly party differences, and that, 
assuming the worst qualities of sectarians, its adherents 
have too often demonstrated a spirit of intolerance 
and persecution. 

Until very lately, we were disposed to think that no 
abolitionists had gone the length of recommending 
insurrection as a means of abolition ; and still it would 
be hard to fix the charge of doing so on the whole party 
which should in justice apply only to a few of the less 
prudent members. We here allude to certain propo- 
sitions of Frederick Douglass, in his newspaper for 
November 28, 1856, in which he appears to contend 
for the right and duty of revolt.* Garrison, on the 
other hand, who is in many respects a remarkable man 
— bold, independent, and indefatigable — has, we believe, 
always disclaimed an appeal to physical violence, and 
by the force of his character has stamped a pacific 
policy on the movement with which he is associated. 

Whatever may have been the opinions entertained 

* ' While we feel bound to use all our powers of persuasion and argument ; 
to welcome every instrumentality that promises to peacefully destroy that 
perpetual contemner of God's laws, and disturber of a nation's peace — 
Slavery; we yet feel that its peaceful annihilation is almost hopeless, and 
hence stand by the doctrines enunciated in those resolutions, and contend 
that the slave's light to revolt is perfect, and only wants the occurrence of 

favourable circumstances to become a duty We cannot but shudder 

as we call to mind the horrors that have ever marked servile insurrections — 
we would avert them if we could ; but shall the millions for ever submit to 
robbery, to murder, to ignorance, and every unnamed evil which an irre- 
sponsible tyranny can devise, because the overthrow of that tyranny would be 
productive of horrors ? We say not. The recoil, when it comes, will be in 
exact proportion to the wrongs inflicted ; terrible as it will be, we accept and 
hope for it. The slaveholder has been tried and sentenced, his execution 
only waits the finish to the training of his executioners. He is training his 
own executioners.' 



WHAT IS TO BE DONE? 175 

respecting' abolitionist doctrines, the time has come 
when they must be spoken of at least in terms of 
extenuation. The occurrences of the last twelve 
months have immeasurably advanced the anti-slavery 
cause in the minds of Europeans ; and we may add, that 
on the relative situation of abolitionists and slaveholders 
a new and more distinct light has been thrown. The 
recent declaration by leading organs in the South, 
that slavery was there and there for ever — that no plan 
of emancipation would be listened to — that slavery is 
a natural and proper institution — that free society has 
been a failure — that the whole free coloured and poor 
white population of the States should be reduced to 
perpetual bondage — that the foreign slave trade ought 
to be revived — together with eulogies on slavery by the 
Governors of a state, and also by a President of the 
United States — declarations by the highest authorities 
that there is an inherent vitality in slavery which will 
insure its illimitable growth ; and a distinct avowal of 
the design to absorb new countries for the sake of 
protecting and greatly extending the institution — these 
extraordinary announcements, along with the unprovoked 
and unredressed outrages committed by Missourians in 
Kansas, the brutal assault of Brooks on Mr Sumner, 
not to speak of other barbarities, defended and gloried 
in — all this, we say, entirely alters the aspect under 
which we are to view the operations of the abolitionists. 
As long as the world was under the impression that 
a calm consideration of emancipation was postponed 
in consequence of the intemperate harangues of what 
were deemed a body of fanatics, the slaveholders com- 
manded that degree of sympathy which was thought 
to be due to their undesired and very unfortunate 
situation. But now, with the facts before us, we are 
at a loss to see how the matter is to be treated in 
the same indulgent spirit. 



176 AMERICAN SLAVERY AND COLOUR. 

Lamenting the past rudeness with which abolitionists 
have pressed their opinions — believing they would 
have more successfully promoted their aims by using 
milder persuasives — persons of enlarged views will 
join us in looking beyond the Faneuil Hall and Exeter 
Hall aspect of the anti-slavery cause. This cause is 
not to be regarded merely as it affects the blacks, but 
the whites — not merely the South, but the North — 
not merely the United States, but the whole family of 
mankind. All the communities on earth are interested 
in the solution of this mighty question — which, like 
other social questions of any consequence, has had to 
pass primarily through the hands of agitators who care 
little for conventional respectabilities. The question, 
we apprehend, has now got beyond the narrow sphere 
of anti-slavery societies. Supposing, that the whole 
of the associations were dissolved and done with, that 
no such men as Garrison, Wendell Phillips, or Sumner 
were in existence, we return to general principles, and 
hope it will not be thought intrusive, if we ask the 
American people to be so good as explain, what they 
propose to do with four millions of negro slaves and 
their progeny ? 

Abolition principles are said to be making progress 
in the North. The protracted struggle in Kansas 
affords evidence of a desire somewhere, to outflank 
slavery on its own ground. Still, there is a universal 
disinclination to meddle with southern institutions. If 
we admit that an important end is gained by excluding 
slavery from Kansas, is there not the great south and 
south-west at disposal? From Texas and New Mexico, 
a number of new slave states may be carved out. We 
are aware that by the more sanguine class of American 
writers, it is confidently believed that Mexico, peopled 
as it is by mixed breeds hostile to American usages, will 
form an impregnable barrier to slavery in the south- 



WHAT IS TO BE DONE? 177 

west. How like one of the delusive fancies ordinarily 
indulged on the subject ! With power in the hands of 
the pro-slavery party, and under a pressure for labour, 
the absorption of Mexico, Central America, and Cuba is 
only a question of time and expediency. The very 
mixture of breeds in Mexico invites aggression. In the 
growing scarcity and costliness of negroes, there lies in 
that doomed country ample material at hand, ready for 
seizure and inter-state deportation. For anything the 
present generation can tell, the South, Mexico included, 
may, some hundreds of years hence, form a great free 
republic of blacks, the refuge of oppressed colour. Such, 
indeed, is likely to be the case; but before that era 
comes round, what suffering, what convulsions, what 
bloodshed ! 

Slavery, we repeat, is seemingly destined to push far 
beyond its present limits. Is no check practicable ? 

The Constitution — it can do nothing. 

The Republicans — they possess little political power ; 
and besides, they propose to act solely through the 
constitution. 

The North — the majority of its representatives 
faithless ; confidence in politicians gone. 

The Anti-slavery Societies — a scattered body, with 
unfashionable views, and no political weight. 

Enlightened Opinion — suppressed by mob violence and 
outvoted; the less opulent and more numerous classes 
being democrats, and supporters of the slave power. 

The South — resolute in maintaining its institutions, 
and master of the situation. 

Patience : the next decennial census will add to the 
number of members in congress from the free states; the 
free states will be increased in number by Minnesota, 
Nebraska, Oregon, and Washington — perhaps so much 
the worse; more democratic votes, more political 
manoeuvring, more slavery ? 



178 AMERICAN SLAVERY AND COLOUR. 

There exists a hope of modifying slavery, by a 
diversion of the cotton trade from America, and by 
a removal of protective duties. A falling off in the 
demand for American cotton, by lessening the demand 
for negroes, would affect the slave-breeding states, and 
dispose them to adopt freedom. By the removal of 
protection, the present compact between North and 
South would be greatly shaken. The former point 
is for the consideration of Englishmen ; the latter for 
that of Americans. 

There is another hope to which we may call attention. 
It is the possibility of creating a free state in Western 
Texas, by means of the German and other European 
immigrants who have settled in that slave section of 
the Union. Whether the Eree-soilers may here be able 
to outflank slavery, is doubtful; but the attempt will 
be made, and the people of England need not be sur- 
prised to learn that the outrages by slaveholders in 
Kansas are re-enacted on a scale of greater desperation 
near the shores of the Gulf of Mexico. 

We would not willingly resign our faith in the capa- 
city of Americans for overcoming dangers and difficul- 
ties. They possess a wonderful power of rallying when 
things are at their worst. Some grand movement, inspired 
by virtuous indignation and despair, may dislodge 
the oligarchy which controls public policy on the slave 
question. New Washingtons, Franklins, and Quincey 
Adamses may arise, to sustain the cause of freedom, 
now basely pronounced to be a failure. It is consoling 
to know that sudden and unforeseen changes for the 
better take place in the social as in the physical 
atmosphere. Luther's reformation was precipitated by 
the sale of some paltry indulgences. The fear of 
abolitionism, which now, like a superstition, hangs over 
the United States, preventing the dispassionate con- 
sideration of a subject of momentous concern, may, 



WHAT IS TO BE DONE? 179 

from some unforeseen cause, be speedily and happily- 
dispelled. 

Looking at matters as they stand, however, making 
every allowance for contingencies, we sorrowfully admit 
that these events do not seem probable. To be quite 
plain : there appear — at least on the surface — to be but 
two expedients, by which this fearfully embarrassed 
question is to be solved — Revolution, Insurrection, both 
to be earnestly deprecated. 

Lately, apart from the old-school abolitionists, there 
have sprung up societies in Massachusetts and other 
quarters, with the distinctly professed object of dis- 
solving the Union ; in order that the free states may 
no longer be associated with, or made responsible for 
slave institutions. Which states are to be disunited, 
these societies do not mention ; that apparently being 
left to chance. They expect to operate through peti- 
tions to congress — hopeless. The law, unchangeable by 
peaceful means, is against them ; and with the univer- 
sally prevailing respect for the Union, which with 
Americans is a kind of sub-religion, we do not imagine 
that the doctrines of the Disunionists will meet with 
wider acceptance than those of the Abolitionists, of 
which they are only a new version.* 

By writers who have taken notice of this new move- 
ment, Disunion is disapproved of, on the ground that 
if effected, slavery would be maintained with greater 
vigour in the South; they even speculate on the pro- 
bability of some millions of abject whites in the southern 
states being made slaves. We think differently. The 
withdrawal of the northern states from the confederacy 
whether peacefully or by armed force, would so shake 
and weaken the whole fabric of southern institutions, 



* For Resolutions proposed at a Disunion Convention at Worcester, 
Massachusetts, see Appendix. 



180 AMERICAN SLAVERY AND COLOUR. 

that an insurrection by the slaves would be inevitable 
— slavery would dissolve in a sea of blood. 

The South knows this. It has often, in its vaunting 
and reckless mode of speaking, threatened to quit the 
Union. Let it try.* 

Feeling its power, the North, if true to itself and 
animated by higher motives, could in a short space 
of time extinguish slavery. It could say to the South : 
' Unless you proceed to follow our example, and make 
provision for the gradual emancipation of your slaves, 
the partnership between us must be dissolved ; we must 
quit the confederacy, and be to you in future a foreign 
country/ A resolute but friendly address in these 
terms from an aggregate convention of free states is 
what civilisation would point to, instead of a resort to 
arms. But what a glow of patriotism — what an arousing 
of sensibilities — what a casting forth of selfishness — 
what a disruption of venerated traditions — what an 
enlightening of the masses — must ensue before the 
North assumes this grand attitude ! It will not do 
so. The execution of the threat would be Revolution. 

A declaration of independence by Massachusetts, or 
any other single state, is equally, if not more improb- 
able ; for that would be equivalent to civil war — an 
issue not likely to be contemplated. We would not, 
however, say with any certainty, that Massachusetts 

* Mr T. D. Arnold of Tennessee, in a speech in the House of Representa- 
tives, stated the case correctly : ' He would ask his southern friends what 
the South had to rely on if the Union were dissolved ? Suppose the disso- 
lution could be peaceably effected — if that did not involve a contradiction 
in terras — what had the South to depend upon? All the crowned heads 
were against her. A million of slaves were ready to rise and strike for 
freedom at the first tap of the drum. They were cut loose from their friends 
at the North — friends that ought to be, and without them the South had no 
friends — whither were they to look for protection? How were they to 
sustain an assault from England or France, with that cancer at their vitals ? 
The more the South reflected, the more clearly she must see that she had a 
deep and vital interest in maintaining the Union.' 



WHAT IS TO BE DONE? 181 

would tamely submit to a very lengthened repetition of 
the indignities to which it has latterly been subjected 
by federal agencies. Spectators at a distance wait with 
some interest to see which is to be the last outrage 
that is to revive the spirit of Bunker's Hill 

The consideration of pacific adjustment being deli- 
berately rejected, and Disunion, Revolution, or Civil 
War abjured — the case is not mended. Slavery goes 
on uninterruptedly in its course. The sore spreads, 
festers, and the longer a corrective is delayed, the 
disease becomes worse, the danger more imminent. 

One trembles at the fatal alternative : Revolution — 
Insurrection. Can insurrection be avoided either way ? 
Revolution would produce insurrection. Successful 
insurrection would be followed by revolution; for we 
can scarcely expect that the North would remain in 
union with a nation of blacks. 

But while the whole federal power may be brought 
to suppress revolt, how can the slaves be successful in 
insurrection? "War with one of the great European 
powers would furnish the means at once ! God forbid 
that we should advocate such a crisis ; but the history 
we have been tracing leads the mind, however reluct- 
antly, to such a possibility; and it is impossible to avoid 
seeing that events are within the range even of prob- 
ability which would render insurrection, if it occurred, 
not only formidable, but successful. If these pages 
awaken, before it is too late, some of the more powerful 
minds of America to the catastrophe to which, in the 
eyes of dispassionate observers, the history of their 
country seems tending, I shall not have written in 
vain. 



APPENDIX 

ILLUSTRATIVE SCRAPS FROM VARIOUS SOURCES. 



GUILT OP GREAT BRITAIN IN INTRODUCING SLAVERY. 

Since writing the early chapters of the present volume, my 
attention has been called to a work, entitled Who is to Blame ? by 
James Grahame, Esq., author of a History of the United States 
(London : Smith and Elder, 1842). Mr Grahame's object is to shew 
that British traders only offered facilities to the colonists for 
purchasing slaves ; that the proprietary colonies adopted slavery, 
and strenuously supported it of their own accord; and that the 
English government had little or nothing to do with planting 
slavery in America. We recommend Mr Grahame's scholarly and 
temperately written work to the perusal of those who feel interested 
in this historical question. 

Eeferring to a panegyric on slavery by Governor Miller of South 
Carolina, as early as 1829, Mr Grahame observes : 

' While America was subject to British domination, no magistrate 
of an American state ever gave the sanction of magisterial authority 
to such sentiments as these ; and no pulpit was ever profaned with 
the apologies for slavery which the clergymen of republican America 
are now not ashamed to preach. Jonathan Edwards, the most 
admirable teacher of Christian doctrine and pattern of Christian 
character that America, or perhaps the world, has produced since 
the apostolic age, during the ascendancy of Britain, denounced the 
system of slavery, and urged its immediate abolition by his country- 
men, with a boldness and security of unreproved freedom to which 
the present race of Americans are utter strangers. And was it then 
to make America a theatre for such disgraceful display as we hav*e 
witnessed, that the pious Puritans undertook their pilgrimage to 
New England — that the peaceful Quakers retired to Pennsylvania 
— that Catholics flying from persecution in Britain, set to the world 
the first example of religious toleration in Maryland — that La 
Fayette and Kosciusko shed their blood in the cause of American 
Independence — and that Washington, Eranklin, Adams, Jefferson, 
Jay, and Henry, made for themselves and their country a glorious 
and immortal name ? Every one of these men entertained and 
expressed a strong abhorrence of negro slavery. If, by fatal 
necessity, America must copy, in her civil policy, the vices as well as 
the virtues of Greece and Rome — if the lawless abuse must always 
be proportioned to the legitimate enjoyment of freedom — then is 
America fated to afford the most humiliating illustration ever 
witnessed by the world, of Milton's melancholy sentiment : 

" Since the original lapse, true liberty 
Is lost, -which always with right reason dwells 
Twinn'd, and from her hath no dividual being." ' 



184 



AMERICAN SLAVERY AND COLOUR. 



POPULATION OP THE UNITED STATES ACCORDING TO THE SEVENTH 
CENSUS, AND REPRESENTATIVES IN CONGRESS.* 



States. 



Maine, 

New Hampshire, 

Vermont, . 

Massachusetts, 

Rhode Island, . 

Connecticut, . 

New York, 

New Jersey, . 

Pennsylvania, . 

Delaware, 

Maryland, . . 

Virginia, 

North Carolina, 

South // , 

Georgia, . 

Florida, 

Alabama, . 

Mississippi, 

Louisiana, 

Texas, . 

Arkansas, . 

Tennessee, 

Kentucky, 

Missouri, 

Ohio, 

Michigan, 

Indiana, . 

Illinois, 

Wisconsin, 

Iowa, . 

California, 

Total, 

Dist. of Columbia, 
Minnesota, 
New Mexico, 
Oregon, 

Utah, 

Total, . 



White 
Population. 



581,813 
317,456 
313,402 
985,450 
143,875 
363,099 

3,048,325 
465,513 

2,258,463 
71,169 
417,943 
894,800 
553,028 
274,567 
521,572 
47,211 
426,486 
295,718 
255,491 
154,034 
1G2,189 
756,753 
761,417 
592,004 

1,955,108 
395,097 
977,628 
846,035 
304,758 
191,879 
91,632 



19,423,915 

38,027 

6,038 

61,530 

13, OSS 
11,330 



Free 
Coloured 
Popula- 
tion. 



1,356 

520 

718 

9,064 

3,670 

7,693 

49,069 

23,820 

53,323 

18,073 

74,723 

54,333 

27,463 

8,956 

2,931 

921 

2,293 

930 

17,462 

397 

60S 

(3,401 

10,007 

2,618 

25,319 

2,557 

10,788 

5,435 

633 

335 

965 



123,384 

9,973 

39 

17 

206 

24 



Total 
Free. 



583,169 
317,976 
314,120 
994,514 
147,545 
370,792 

3,097,391 
489,333 

2,311,786 
89,242 
492,666 
949,133 
580,491 
283,523 
524,503 
48,135 
428,779 
296,648 
272,953 
154,431 
162,797 
763,154 
771,421 
594,622 

1,980,427 
397,654 
988,416 
851,470 
305,391 
192,214 
92,597 



19,847,301 

48,000 
6,077 
61,547 
13,294 
11,354 



19,553,928 433,643ll9,9S7,573 3,204,347 



Slaves. 



222 

2,290 

90,368 

472,528 

288,548 

384,984 

381,682 

39,309 

342,892 

309,878 

244,809 

58,161 

47,100 

239,460 

210,981 

87,422 



3,200,634 
3,687 



26 



Federal 
Represent- 
ative 
Popula- 
tion. 



583,169 
317,976 
314,120 
994,514 
147,545 
370,792 

3,097,394 
489,466 

2,311,786 

90,616 

546,886 

1,232,649 
753,619 
514,513 
753,512 
71,720 
634,514 
482,574 
419,838 
189,327 
191,057 
906,830 
898,012 
647,075 

1,980,427 
397,654 
988,416 
851,470 
305,391 
192,214 
92,597 



L 

d " 



21,767,673 



6 

3 

3 

11 

2 
4 

33 
5 

25 
1 
6 

13 
8 
6 
8 
1 
7 
5 
4 
2 
2 

10 

10 
7 

21 
4 

11 
9 
o 
2 

*2 



234 



*~ 

>. to 

■si 

o 2 
•a 



1 
1 
— 1 

+ 1 



Frac- 
tions 
over. 



— 1 

+ 1 



— 2 

— 1 

— 1 



+ 1 



+ 1 
1 

+ 2 

+ 1 

+ 1 

+ 2 



22,631 

37,707 

33,851 

+60,281 

+54,122 

1 90, 523 

14,435 

22,351 

+69,634 

+79,771 
18.150 

6,235 
+47.39S 

6,128 

+73,976 

15,495 

46,146 

2,481 

4,211 

+66,023 

+57,205 

+86,537 

18,544 

23,962 

+54,186 

10,663 

25,122 

5,368 



RECAPITULATION. 





Total 

Population 

in 1840. 


Slaves 

in 
1840. 


Total 

Population 

in 1850. 


Total Free 

Population 

in 1850. 


Slaves 

in 
1850. 


Represent- 
ative Pop. 
in 1850. 


Rep. 
in 

1850. 


Gain 
or 

Loss. 


Free States, 
Slave States, 
Dist. and Ter. 

Total, . 


9,654,865 

7,290,719 

117,769 


1,102 

2,481,532 

4,721 


13,434,922 

9,612,969 

143,985 


13,434,798 

6,412,503 

140,272 


222 

3,200,412 

3,713 


13,436,931 
8,330,742 


141 
90 

234 


+ 1 
— 1 


17,063,353'2,487,355 


23,191,876 


19,987,573 


3,204,347 


21,767,673 



*The aggregate representative population (21,767,673), divided by 233— the 
number of representatives established by law — gives 93,423 as the ratio of appor- 
tionment among the several States. But this gives only 220 members, leaving 13 to 
be assigned to the States having the largest residuary fractions. 

+ In the column of fractions, those marked thus,+, entitle the State to an additional 
Representative, who is included in the number given the State in the column of 
Representatives. 

J By the act of July 30, 1852, an additional representative is assigned to California, 
making the whole number of Representatives 234. The ratio of representation 
remains unchanged. The last published census tables differ slightly from the above, 
but as the apportionment of representation is made by above table, "it is continued. 





POPULATICXN 


r OF THE UNITED STATE 


S. 


185 


States. 


1790. 


1800. 


1810. 


1820. 


1830. 


1810. 


1850. 


Maine, 


96,540 


151,719 


228,705 


298,335 


399,955 


fiOl.793 


583,169 


N. Hampshire 


141,899 


183,762 


214,360 


244,161 


269,328 


284,574 


317,976 


Vermont, . 


85,416 


154,465 


217,713 


235,764 


280,652 


291,948 


314,120 


Massachusetts 


378,717 


423,245 


472,040 


523,287 


610,408 


737,699 


994,514 


Rhode Island, 


69,110 


69,122 


77,031 


83,059 


97,199 


108,830 


147,545 


Connecticut, 


238,141 


251,002 


262,042 


275,202 


297,665 


309, 97S 


370,792 


New York, 


340,120 


580,756 


959,949 


1,372,812 


1,918,608 


2,428,921 


3,097,394 


// Jersey, 


184,lo9 


211,949 


249,555 


277,575 


320,823 


373,306 


489,555 


Pennsylvania, 


434,373 


602,365 


810,091 


1,049,458 


1,348,233 


1,724,033 


2,311,786 


Delaware, 


59,098 


64,273 


72,674 


72,749 


76,748 


78,085 


91,532 


Maryland, . 


319,728 


341,548 


380,546 


407,350 


447,040 


470,019 


533 034 


Virginia, 


748,308 


880,200 


974,612 


1,065379 


1,211,405 


1,239,797 


1,421,661 


N. Carolina, 


393,751 


478,103 


555,500 


638,829 


737,987 


753,419 


869,039 


S. // , 


249,073 


345,591 


415,715 


502,741 


581,185 


594,398 


668,507 


Georgia, 


82,548 


162,101 


252,433 


340,987 


516,823 


691,392 


906,185 


Florida, . 










34,730 


54,477 


87,445 


Alabama, . 






20,845 


127,901 


309,527 


590,756 


771,623 


Mississippi, 




8,850 


40,352 


75,44^ 


136,621 


375,651 


606,526 


Louisiana, . 






76,556 


153,407 


215,739 


352,411 


517,762 


Texas, . 














212,592 


Arkansas, . 








14,273 


30,388 


97,574 


209,897 


Tennessee, 


30,791 


105,602 


261,727 


422,813 


681,904 


829,210 


1,002,717 


Kentucky, . 


73,077 


220,955 


406,511 


564,317 


687,917 


779,828 


982,405 


Ohio, 




45,365 


230,760 


581,434 


937,903 


1,519,467 


1,980,329 


Michigan, . 






4,762 


8,896 


31,639 


212,267 


397,654 


Indiana, 




4,875 


24,520 


147,178 


343,031 


685,866 


988,416 


Illinois, . 






12,282 


55,211 


157,455 


476,183 


851,470 


Missouri, 






20,845 


66,586 


140,445 


383,702 


682,044 


Wisconsin, 












30,945 


305,391 


Iowa, 












43,112 


192,214 


Dis. of Colum. 




14,093 


24,023 


33,039 


39,834 


43,712 


51,687 


California, 

Total, . 














92,597 


3,929,872 


5,305,952 


7,239,814 


9,638,131 


12,866,920 


17,063,353 


23,191,876 





SLAVES IN THE 1 


UNITED 


STATES. 






States. 


1790. 


1800. 


1810. 


1820. 


1E30. 


1840. 


1850. 


Maine, 























N. Hampshire 


1.58 


8 











1 





Vermont, . 


17 




















Massachusetts 























Rhode Island, 


952 


381 


103 


48 


17 


5 





Connecticut, 


2,759 


951 


310 


97 


25 


17 





New York, 


21,324 


20,343 


15,017 


10,088 


75 


4 





a Jersey, 


11,423 


12,422 


10,851 


7,657 


2,254 


674 


236 


Pennsylvania. 


3,737 


1,706 


795 


211 


403 


64 





Delaware, . 


8,887 


6,153 


4,177 


4,509 


3,292 


2,605 


2,290 


Maryland, 


103,036 


105,635 


111,502 


107,398 


102,294 


89.737 


90,368 


Virginia, . 


203,427 


345,796 


392,518 


425,153 


469,757 


448,987 


472,528 


N. Carolina, 


100,572 


133,296 


168,824 


295,017 


235,601 


245,817 


288,548 


S. a , 


107,094 


146,151 


196,365 


258,475 


315,401 


327,038 


384,984 


Florida, . 










15,501 


25,717 


39,310 


Georgia, 


29,264 


59,404 


105,218 


149,656 


217,531 


280,944 


381,682 


Alabama, 








41,879 


117,549 


253,532 


342,844 


Mississippi, 




3,4S9 


17,038 


32,814 


65,659 


195,211 


309,878 


Louisiana, 






34,660 


69,064 


109,588 


168,452 


244,809 


Texas, 














58,161 


Arkansas, 








1,617 


4,576 


19,935 


47,100 


Tennessee, 


3,417 


13,584 


44,535 


80,107 


141,603 


183,059 


239,459 


Kentucky, . 


11,830 


40,343 


80,561 


126,732 


165,213 


182,258 


210, £81 


Ohio, 













3 





Michigan, . 






24 




32 








Indiana, . 




135 


237 


190 





3 





Illinois, 






168 


117 


747 


331 





Missouri, 






3,011 


10,222 


25,031 


£8,240 


87,422 


Wisconsin, 












11 





Iowa, 












16 





California, 

















Dis. of Colum. 
Total, . 




3,244 


5,395 


6,377 


6,119 


4,694 


3,6S7 


697,897 


893,041 


1,191,364 


1,538,064 


2,009,031 


2,487,355 


3,204,313 



186 AMERICAN SLAVERY AND COLOUR. 

PROGRESSIVE INCREASE OF POPULATION. 

Comparative population of the United States in 1800, 1850, and 
1900 — adding 3 per cent, per annum, the ascertained increase from 
1800 to 1850, to the latter period : 

Total in Total in Estimated in 

1800. 1850. lyoo. 

Free States, . . 2,684,625 13,527,300 62,000,000 

Slave States, . . 2,621,300 9,664,576 36,000,000 

Total estimate of Population in 1900, . . 98,000,000 

Of which, by ascertained ratio of increase, the slave population will 
be 12,000,000, leaving 86,000,000 freemen in the year 1900, of 
which only 24,000,000 will be in the southern states. 

Estimated increase from 1850 to 1900, in periods of ten years, 
adding 3 per cent, per annum : 

Total Pop. Slaves. 

Total population in 1850, . . . 23,191,876 3,204,313 

tr n it 1860, . . 31,095,535 4.157,787 

ii a a 1870, . • . . 40,617,708 5,405,173 

a a if 18S0, . . 54,586,795 7,026,659 

a u ii 1890, . . . 73,332,185 9,134,656 

n it n 1900, . . 98,595,512 11,875,000 

Long before this latter period arrives, it is to be hoped that 
slavery will have ceased to exist in these United States, and that 
the census of this modern republic will not be disgraced by a display 
of freemen and bondmen side by side, as at present appears in fifteen 
out of thirty-one of the States of the Union. — American Newspaper. 

DANGEROUS CONDITION OF COLOURED PERSONS. 

It has been stated that free persons of colour from the northern 
states are in danger of lapsing into slavery, by merely intruding 
within the verge of a slave state. In Maryland, there was a law 
passed in 1839, to prohibit the ingress of free persons of colour, 
under the penalty of a heavy fine. The enactment is as follows : 
'No free negro or mulatto, belonging to, or residing in any other 
state, is permitted to come into Maryland, whether such free negro 
or mulatto intends settling in this state or not, under the penalty of 
20 dollars for the first offence.' For a second offence, the penalty 
is 500 dollars ; and, failing the payment of such fines, the offender 
' shall be committed to the jail of the county, and shall be sold 
by the sheriff at public sale to the highest bidder.' 

Under this law, a free coloured person wandering inadvertently 
into Maryland in quest of employment, may be seized, and if 
poor and unable to pay the fine, sold after a few days' public notice, 
just as if he were a stray heifer. A case of this kind occurred not 
long ago. 

In 1851, there resided in Philadelphia a negro named Edward 
Davis, who, finding employment fail, went to the country in 
quest of the means of subsistence. He could not have possessed 
very bright intelligence, for he ought to have known that it was 
dangerous for him to enter the borders of a slave state. His original 
intention was to go no further than Hollidaysburgh, a flourishing 
town in Blair county, Pennsylvania ; but for some reason he 
abandoned this design, and crossing the Susquehanna, reached 
the populous village of Havre de Grace, in Maryland. Here he 
sought for, and obtained employment; and was thoughtlessly 



APPENDIX. 187 

pursuing his occupation, when he was arrested, and taken before 
a magistrate, to answer the charge of having violated the law, 
which prohibits the settlement of free negroes in the state. The 
offence was clear, and the fine of twenty dollars incurred. Destitute 
of money, and without friends, he was confined in prison, where 
he lay about two months. At the end of this period, he was brought 
out, and after due advertisement, sold by auction to pay his fine 
and expenses — altogether amounting to fifty dollars. The following 
is a copy of the sheriff's certificate of sale, which we give as a 
curiosity : 

* State of Maryland, Harford county — I, Eobert M'Gan, sheriff 
of Harford county, do hereby certify, that whereas negro Ned Davis 
was found guilty by the Orphan Court of Harford county of a 
violation of the Act of Assembly of the state of Maryland, passed 
1839, chapter 38 ; and the said negro having refused to pay the 
fine and costs, as in the said law directed, I did, having first given 
the notice prescribed by law, expose the said negro at public sale, 
at the court-house doors in Bell Air, and Dr John G. Archer, 
of Louisiana, being the highest bidder, became the purchaser of 
the said negro. Given under my hand and seal, this tenth day 
of November 1851. Robert M'Gan, sheriff.' 

Davis, now a slave, was subsequently transferred from master 
to master; and we find that, in June 1852, he was sold to a 
Mr Dean of Macon, Georgia, for 300 dollars. As this is only about 
a third of the market- value of an able-bodied negro, we infer 
that he was past the prime of life, or otherwise defective. In one 
of the accounts of the transaction, he is spoken of as being thirty- 
four years of age. Be this as it may, Ned Davis was, to all intents 
and purposes, a slave ; and as such, was first employed to cook 
for a large number of slaves in Baltimore; and subsequently, on 
being purchased by Mr Dean, was sent southward, through 
Washington and Charleston, to Georgia. On arriving in Macon, 
he was put to work on a railway ; but the labour of an excavator 
being beyond his strength, his health failed, and, as a relief, he 
was placed on a cotton-plantation. He was afterwards sent back 
to the railway. This second time, however, he utterly broke down, 
and was removed to an hospital. This occurred in July 1853. 
In the hospital, he related his history to the attending physicians, 
who, taking pity on him, offered to buy him for 400 dollars ; but 
the price was refused. Although shattered in health, and partially 
lame, the unfortunate Ned was again put to some kind of work, 
and he continued in servitude till the 12th of March 1854. On 
this day, after long brooding over his wrongs, he ran away from 
Macon, and went to Savannah, a seaport from which steam- vessels 
traded to northern free states. Davis's object was to get on board 
one of these vessels ; and he secreted himself in a stable till the 
14th, on which day he went on board the steamer Keystone State, 
which was to sail next morning for Philadelphia. The remainder 
of the narrative may be given in the words of a New York 
newspaper : 

' At nine o'clock the next morning, the steamer sailed with 
Davis on board. The following day, the men, while heaving the 
lead, heard a voice from under the guards of the boat, calling 
for them to throw him a rope. Upon examination, it was found 



188 AMERICAN SLAVERY AND COLOUR. 

that the voice proceeded from a coloured man, concealed on a beam 
under the guards of the wheel-house. He was rescued from his 
perilous situation, in a state of great exhaustion : his clothes were 
saturated with sea-water, as the sea had become rough, and he 
was dipped in the water at every rock of the vessel. The hands 
furnished him with a dry suit, and made him comfortable; but 
the commander of the boat was differently disposed. Fearing the 
effects of Georgian law, in case he should bring a slave to a free 
state, he ordered his vessel to put into Newcastle, Delaware, where 
he had the unfortunate man imprisoned, with the intention, it is 
stated, of taking him back to Savannah on his return-trip. But 
the facts of the case having leaked out, public sympathy was enlisted, 
and a determination shewn that Davis should not go back to 
Georgia, unless it could be established that he was not entitled 
to his freedom. On the 20th of March, the case was brought before 
Justice Bradford, of Newcastle. A number of witnesses were 
examined, and his freedom clearly proved. On hearing this 
testimony in his favour, the magistrate discharged him from 
custody, there being no reason why a free citizen of Pennsylvania 
should be kept in a Delaware prison, with no crime charged against 
him. After his discharge, and before he had left the magistrate's 
office, the commander of the Keystone State appeared ; made affidavit 
that he believed Davis to be a fugitive slave, and also a fugitive 
from justice ; whereupon he was detained, and again shut up in 
prison.' On the return of the captain of the steamer to Savannah, 
measures were adopted to reclaim possession of Davis by legal 
proceedings. The case came on for trial at Newcastle, April 16 ; 
and it was clearly proved by evidence, that the negro had been 
legally seized and sold in Maryland, and transferred by his owners 
to his present claimant, Mr Dean. A decision was given accordingly; 
the runaway being adjudged to be a slave, and put at the disposal 
of his proprietor. Whether he was actually taken back to Georgia, 
is not stated. If alive, there can be no doubt of his being still 
in a condition of slavery. The laws of Pennsylvania possess no 
power to reclaim a citizen, whose liberty is legally forfeited in 
another state ; and if the friends of Ned Davis fail to buy him, 
there are, so far as we are aware, no other lawful means by which 
they can restore him to freedom. 



AMALGAMATION. 

There was published in London, in 1853, a small volume, entitled 
The American Prejudice against Colour ; an Authentic Narrative. By 
Willam G. Allen.* Allen's narrative is curious. He tells us that 
he is a quadroon, one-fourth African blood, and three-fourths Anglo- 
Saxon. He received a good education, and graduated at Oneida 
Institute, in Whitesboro, state of New York, in 1844. Subsequently, 
he studied law, and became professor of the Greek and German 
languages, and of rhetoric and belles-lettres, of New York Central 
College, in M'Grawville, Cortland county — the only college in 
America that has ever called a coloured man to a professorship. In 

* W. and F. G. Cash, Bishopsgate Street. Price One Shilling. 



APPENDIX. 189 

April 1851, he visited Fulton to deliver a course of lectures. Here 
he was kindly received by the Kev. Lyndon King, a Wesleyan 
Methodist clergyman, to one of whose daughters, Miss Mary King, 
he ultimately became attached. The sentiment was reciprocal. 
The father of the young lady had no objection to his offer of 
marriage ; one of the young lady's sisters, also, favoured the pro- 
posal ; but Mrs King — a step-mother — and the other members of the 
family, were violently opposed to the idea of forming a connection 
with a man of colour. The greatest opponent of- all was one of the 
brothers, the Rev. J. B. King, a prodigiously pious gentleman, who 
had for some time been engaged in gathering funds to build a 
church, which should exclude from membership those who held their 
fellow-men in bondage, and all who would not admit the doctrines of 
the human brotherhood! Professing an abhorrence of slavery, he 
nevertheless seems to have possessed the usual northern prejudice 
against persons of colour. He was incensed beyond measure at the 
atrocity of the proposed alliance ; and through him and the step- 
mother the public indignation appears to have been excited. From 
less to more, all Fulton and its neighbourhood were roused to a sense 
of the impropriety of the intended marriage — the objections resting 
on no other grounds than the damage that might be done to the pure 
Anglo-Saxon race by amalgamation with the African type. 

Professor Allen and Miss King were now placed in an awkward 
and dangerous predicament. Besides the lady's sister, their only 
friend was Mr Porter, a schoolmaster, and his wife. Porter allowed 
the parties to meet at his house. Having gone thither on Sunday 
evening, January 30, 1853, for the purpose of talking over their 
affairs, they were alarmed by the intelligence that an infuriated mob 
was collecting, which would soon surround the house, and commit 
some serious personal outrage. Allen was informed that ' tar, 
feathers, poles, and an empty barrel, spiked with shingle nails, had 
been prepared for his especial benefit ; ' Mr Porter was to be tar- 
and-feathered, and ridden on a rail ; and Miss King was to be con- 
ducted away in a sleigh to the house of her parents. Aware of the 
extremities to which the mob-spirit is carried on such occasions, 
Allen prepared for death. Unless the mob relented, no earthly power 
could save him. 

Up the outrageous multitude at length came. They consisted of 
all classes of persons, including the most respectable in the place. 
The churches were emptied ; all went off to enjoy the fun or mischief 
of hunting 'the nigger,' and protesting against the sin of amal- 
gamation. With shouts and yells, the mob called to 'bring out 
the nigger,' ' to kill him,' and ' to tear down the house.' Some 
members of a committee who had been appointed to regulate pro- 
ceedings, entered the dwelling, and declared that Allen's life could 
only be saved by his instant departure, and that Miss King would 
at the same time require to go home to her parents. The young 
lady having, after some demur, gone off in a sleigh, Allen was next 
escorted from the house by the members of committee to a hotel — not, 
however, without being well kicked and buffeted by the mob, who 
crowded about him during the march. At the hotel, after a little 
delay, he was smuggled away by a back-entrance, and conveyed in a 
sleigh to Syracuse — a distance of about twenty-five miles. 

Dark days ensued. The newspapers were furious at the idea of 



190 AMERICAN SLAVERY AND COLOUR. 

amalgamation, and it was some time before the lovers were able to 
arrange an interview. We must refer to Allen's narrative for an 
account of what indignities were suffered by both parties at this 
I>eriod. Some time in March, they were enabled to see each other, 
and to arrange future movements. At this interview they resolved 
to exercise their undoubted legal rights — to enter into the holy state 
of matrimony ; but having done so, to flee the country. This daring 
resolution they successfully put into effect. They were married in 
New York, and shortly afterwards departed from Boston for Liver- 
pool. Professor Allen carried recommendations with him to gentle- 
men in England, by whom he has probably been put in the way of 
earning a livelihood. He, in conclusion, informs his readers, that Mr 
Porter, who gave him refuge in adversity, was dismissed from his 
situation as schoolmaster, in consequence of outraging public opinion 
by favouring the union of a white lady with a man degraded by 
the taint of African blood. If all this be true — and we have no 
reason to doubt its authenticity — we are furnished with a striking 
example of that loathing and detestation of the free coloured popu- 
lation which prevails in the northern states of the Union, and which 
has seemed to us so irreconcilable with the profession of anti-slavery 
principles. 

TEACHING FREE COLOURED CHILDREN TO READ. 

1 Slavery not only precludes education by its very nature — it 
enacts laws to secure ignorance among the free citizens of the slave 
states. By the laws of Virginia, Mrs Douglass, of Norfolk, was 
pronounced guilty of a "crime" for teaching free coloured children 
to read. She suffered thirty days' imprisonment in the city jail, not 
because it is actually a crime to teach a free coloured child to read, 
but because intelligence is dangerous to slavery. It was necessary 
to make an example of her, to deter all future offenders. Judge 
Baker has won an unenviable notoriety in his delivery of her sen- 
tence. He says that the idea that universal culture is necessary to 
religious instruction and education is " mischievous " — a well-chosen 
term. He says that of all the negroes in the world, none are so 
intelligent, so inclined to the Gospel, and so blessed by the elevating 
influences of the Gospel, as the slaves of the United States, and that 
if any one would have their interests more carefully regarded than 
they are by the laws of Virginia, it must be from a sickly sensi- 
bility tOAvards them. Then he proceeds to vindicate the justice of 
the sentence by the fact that, " in good sense and sound morality, his 
discretionary power to imprison for six months or less does not 
authorise a mere minimum punishment," since the question of 
"guilt" is beyond a doubt; and there are many "aggravating 
circumstances." " Therefore, as a terror to those who acknowledge 
no rule of action but their own evil will and pleasure, and in vindica- 
tion of the justness of our laws, the judgment of the court is, that 
you be imprisoned for the period of one month in the jail of this 
city." Because Mrs Douglass chose to remain and suffer the full 
penalty of the law, though all the citizens hoped she would leave the 
city, the Norfolk Argus of February 9, 1854, says : "Then sympathy 
departed, and in the breast of every one rose a righteous indignation 
towards a person who would throw contempt in the face of the laws, 



APPENDIX. 191 

and brave the imprisonment for the ' cause of humanity.' H '—Tract : 
Influence of Slavery upon the White Population, 



SLAVERY, A DOMESTIC INSTITUTION. 

* By a strange misnomer, slavery has been called a " domestic " 
institution; but before its presence all that is properly implied in 
that word domestic vanishes like an exorcised spirit. The desolation 
wrought among the coloured victims of slavery is terrible, and 
mighty indeed is their demand for redress ; but they have their 
revenge in the wreck of the domestic happiness of their oppressors. 

' I have said that the white child is committed entirely to the care 
of the coloured nurse, and thus the process of contamination begins 
in infancy. Young children are familiarised to sights and associa- 
tions which destroy the instinctive modesty of youth. They are 
also placed in such relations to the coloured children, through the 
ignorance or malice of the nurse, as to stimulate the passions into 
premature activity. Some nurses believe that personal intimacies 
between the young master and his young female companions culti- 
vate a closer affection, and insure the latter from the chances of 
being sold. Others, of a fiercer temper, seek their revenge for 
outrages committed on themselves, in order to exult over the wreck 
of early manhood always resulting from self-indulgence. By which- 
ever process the result is attained, it is a well-known fact that 
purity among southern men is almost an unknown virtue. 

' There are thousands of proofs of this in the prevalence of the 
fair skin, smooth and glossy hair, blue eyes, straight nose, delicate 
foot, and arched instep, which are everywhere to be met among the 
slaves. But why should we expect purity when every restraint is 
removed which helps to subdue, the clamours of the animal nature, 
while every possible opportunity is offered for its indulgence ? . . . . 

' Nor is one class of society more base than another in this 
respect. The highest social life is often the most vile in its secret 
history. A young man at the age of twenty-one takes possession of 
his portion of the paternal estate, erects a house upon it, where he 
retires and establishes a household for himself. He secures what 
means of gratification his taste can select, and thus lives, sometimes 
ten or fifteen years, if no heiress or beauty cross his path of sufficient 
attractions to induce him to add her as an ornamental appendage 
to his establishment. Meanwhile his human "property" steadily 
increases, both in numbers and value ; for the lighter the mulatto, 
the more desirable among the fastidious : and rare beauty is often 
the result of a second intermingling of the same aristocratic blood 
with the offspring of a former passion. From time to time, friends 
come to visit this bachelor hall, and in due season' the master is 
repaid for his hospitality to them by a valuable addition to his stock 
of human chattels 

1 Peace and happiness, and the faith which is as immovable as 
the everlasting hills in the heart of pure and constant love, those 
essential elements of the true home, are nowhere to be found in 
slavery. The wife constantly sees the likeness of her husband in 
children that are not hers ; the husband welcomes every new-comer 
among them as so many hundreds of prospective gain, and devotes 



192 AMERICAN SLAVERY AND COLOUR. 

himself to their increase, while his legal children are born with 
feeble minds and bodies, with just force enough to transmit the family- 
name, and produce in feebler characters a second edition of the 
father's life. The plantation in Virginia is " stocked " with negroes 
that are bought with sole reference to their capacities for reproduc- 
tion, and master and slave unite, the former consciously, the latter 
unconsciously, in the same odious enterprise of raising victims for 
the southern market.' — Tract : Influence of Slavery upon the White 
Population. 

KIDNAPPING. 

The dangers to which free persons of colour are exposed by 
entering a slave state doubtless tends to fix the coloured population 
in a particular spot, and to render them suspicious of overtures of 
employment from strangers ; for they may be unwittingly trans- 
ported to one of the nearest slave states, and there sold. The 
following are cases in illustration : 

The first case is that of Solomon Northrup, a negro who was kid- 
napped in a very extraordinary manner. In the year 1841, Northrup 
lived at Saratoga Springs, in the state of New York ; he was then 
thirty-four years of age, and had a wife and three children. He was 
a clever, handy person ; could drive a carriage, play on the fiddle, 
and make himself generally useful. One day, two strangers, named 
Merrill and Russell, were introduced to him. They spoke of being 
connected with a travelling-circus, and required an assistant possessing 
Northrup's accomplishments. The wages offered were fair — a dollar 
a day, and expenses till he returned. Pleased with the offer, Solomon 
hired himself to the strangers ; and bidding good-bye for a short 
time to his wife and family, mounted the box of a travelling-carriage, 
and drove off on his journey. The party went first to the city of 
New York, and there Northrup expressed a disinclination to proceed 
southward ; but being finally persuaded to go, he took the precau- 
tion to procure from the custom-house papers certifying his being a 
freeman ; and forthwith went off with his employers through New 
Jersey and Pennsylvania to Baltimore, in Maryland, and thence to 
Washington. Here, Northrup was told he would see the circus 
company, and be employed with his violin. The party, meanwhile, 
conducted him to a tavern, to get some refreshments — an arrange- 
ment to which, of course, he could have no objection. He ate and 
drank unreservedly. The drugged liquor did its work, and he soon 
became sick, and, finally, insensible. How long he remained in this 
condition, he could not tell ; but when he came to his senses, he 
found himself handcuffed in a slave-pen, with his legs fettered to a 
ring in the floor. In reply to his alarmed and indignant questions, 
he was told that he was a runaway slave from Georgia. It was vain 
to assert that he was a freeman, from the state of New York ; his 
remonstrances were met by threats of the lash. "What could the 
unfortunate negro do ? His coat, hat, money, and free papers had 
been taken from him. Continuing to remonstrate, he was actually 
whipped with a cat-o'-nine-tails, and otherwise beaten in a savage 
manner, with the view, possibly, of breaking his spirit, and render- 
ing him submissive. He was now left to ruminate over his hapless 
condition ; and after a confinement of a few days, carried off with a 



APPENDIX. 193 

number of other negroes, by steam-boat and railway, to Norfolk, in 
Virginia ; from which place he was shipped with his companions to 
New Orleans. Here he was sold to a planter, to go up to Red River ; 
and was subsequently purchased twice, and kept in slavery for a 
period of nearly twelve years, up to January 3, 1853. He was on 
that day unexpectedly set at liberty, and returned to his family. 

After Merrill and Russell had fraudulently disposed of Northrup, 
and pocketed the sum for which they had sold him, they returned 
northward, and carried on similar practices with other negroes 
whom they inveigled into their power. Their tricks were at length 
discovered ; and it was probably through this circumstance that 
Northrup regained his liberty. The two kidnappers were taken into 
custody, and brought for examination before the justices at Ballston 
Spa, on the 11th of July 1854. Northrup, and other witnesses, 
appeared against them ; and it is from the narrative of this judicial 
inquiry, in a Saratoga newspaper, that we have gathered the fore- 
going facts. The parties accused did not deny the charge; but 
claimed their release on account of the Statute of Limitations, 
requiring an indictment to be found within three years of the com- 
mission of the offence. The district-attorney, in reply, maintained 
that the offence was committed up till the day that Northrup was set 
at liberty, in January 1853. The magistrates, taking the same view 
of the case, remanded Merrill and Russell to prison, to await the 
course of law. And the last thing we hear of them is, that they 
were held to bail by Northrup in the sum of 5000 dollars, to answer 
in a civil suit of personal damages for having sold him into 
slavery. 

A number of the New Yorh Evening Post (Mr Bryant's ably con- 
ducted paper), copies the following case of kidnapping from the 
Cincinnati Columbian of January 4, 1855. We give it exactly as it 
is therein related : 

1 A deeply interesting reunion of a severed family took place at the 
house of Mr Levi Coffin on last Saturday. The story, as told us by the 
parties, runs in this wise : Forty-eight years ago, tAvo little coloured 
boys, named Peter and Levin Still, were playing in the highway near 
their father's house, on the Delaware river, when a stranger passing 
by in a gig, asked them to take a ride. The boys did so ; and were 
thus kidnapped, and carried to Lexington, Kentucky, where they 
were sold to one John Fisher. They were ultimately sold to other 
masters ; and after thirteen years' slavery in Kentucky, were sent 
south, where they were purchased by John Hogan, of Franklin 
county, South Alabama. At the age of twenty-four, Levin died ; but 
Peter continued a slave for thirty-one years. During this period, he 
married a female slave belonging to one Barnard M'Kinon, a neigh- 
bour of his master, and had three children — two sons and a daughter. 
By years of extreme economy, Peter at last saved 500 dollars. This 
was enough to purchase his freedom; and a worthy Jewish 
gentleman, acting for Peter, paid the money. 

' Peter bade farewell to his family, and went north, to Philadelphia, 
to discover his relatives. He found his aged mother and eight 
brothers and sisters still living. He laboured for some time to save 
enough to buy the freedom of his wife and family ; but as his 
accumulations were slow, and the amount to be raised very large — 
5000 dollars — he at last determined to appeal to the charitable 

M 



194 AMERICAN SLAVERY AND COLOUR. 

public for aid. He went from place to place, telling his story, and 
asking assistance. In the meantime, his family ran away from their 
master ; travelling at night, and remaining concealed in the daytime, 
they escaped from the slave states to Indiana, where, however, they 
were captured by a Avhite man, who returned them to their master. 

' On being taken back, they became hopeless of ever getting free. 
At last, after four years of effort, Peter had raised the 5000 dollars ; 
and a few weeks ago, an agent was despatched to Alabama. He 
purchased the wife and children, and brought them on to this city, to 
which Peter had come from Philadelphia to meet them. The reunion 
was deeply affecting. One of the sons is twenty-seven, and the other 
twenty-four years of age. One of them had a wife in Alabama, who 
died, leaving a baby only a few months old. When coming away, 
the father begged hard for this little one, but it was worth 200 
dollars : he had nothing, and came away without it. If these are 
fair samples, southern slaves have not been so much degraded and 
brutalised as is sometimes represented. Peter expects, when he 
reaches Philadelphia, to publish a card of thanks to those who have 
aided him. He and his family will leave this morning.' 



AN OPULENT SLAVEHOLDER. 

In the summer of 1854 there appeared a communication in a 
Richmond newspaper, giving an account of a Mr Samuel Hairston, 
a planter, who is described as the wealthiest man in Virginia, if 
not in the United States. The account, which we copy, will be 
read with interest. ' I have thought for some time I would write for 
your paper something in relation to the richest man in Virginia, 
and the largest slaveholder in the Union, and perhaps in the world, 
unless the serfs of Russia be considered slaves ; and the wish 
expressed in your paper, a few days ago, to know who was so 
wealthy in Virginia, induces me to write this now. Samuel 
Hairston, of Pittsylvania, is the gentleman. When I was in his 
section a year or two ago, he was the owner of between 1600 and 
1700 slaves, in his own right, having but a little while before 
taken a census. He also has a prospective right to about 1003 
slaves more, which are now owned by his mother-in-law, Mrs R. 
Hairston, he having married her only child. He now has the 
management of them, which makes the number of his slaves reach 
near 3000. They increase at the rate of nearly 100 every year : 
he has to purchase a large plantation every year to settle them 
on. A large number of his plantations are in Henry and Patrick 
counties, Virginia. He has large estates in North Carolina. His 
landed property in Stokes alone is assessed at 600,000 dollars. His 
wealth is differently estimated at 3,000,000 to 5,000,000 dollars; 
and I should think it nearer the latter. You think he has a hard 
lot; but, I assure you, Mr Hairston manages all his matters as 
easy as most would an estate of 10,000 dollars. He has overseers 
who are compelled to give him a written statement of what has 
been made and spent on each plantation, and his negroes are all 
clothed and fed from his own domestic manufacture; and raising 
his own tobacco-crop, which is immensely large, as so much clear 
gain every year besides his increase in negroes, which is a fortune 



APPENDIX. 195 

of itself. And now for his residence. I have travelled over fifteen 
states of this Union, and have never seen anything comparable 
to his yard and garden, except some of those in the Mississippi 
delta, and none of them equal to it. Mrs Hairston has been 
beautifying it for years : and a good old minister, in preaching 
near the place, and describing paradise, said " it was as beautiful 
as Mrs Hairston's;" or, as a friend who visited Washington city 
for the first time, remarked that " the public grounds were nearly 
as handsome as Samuel Hairston's." He is a plain, unassuming 
gentleman, and has never made any noise in the world, though 
he could vie with the Bruces, the M'Donoughs, and Astors ; and 
it is strange, that while their wealth is co-extensive with the Union, 
he is not known 100 miles from home. I believe he is now the 
wealthiest man in the Union, as William B. Astor is only worth 
about 4,000,000 dollars, and the estates of city people are vastly 
overrated, while Mr Hairston can shew the property that will bring 
the cash at any moment. Mr Hairston was raised within a few miles 
of where he now lives, in Henry county. He has several brothers, 
who are pretty well to do in the world. One of them, Marshall 
Hairston, of Henry, owns more than 700 negroes ; Kobert Hairston, 
who now lives in Mississippi, near 1000 ; and Harden Hairston, 
who has also moved to Mississippi, about 600 slaves. George 
Hairston, of Henry, has given almost all of his property to his 
children, reserving only about 150 slaves for his own use. This, 
I believe, is a correct statement of the circumstances of the 
Hairston family.' 

A COACH PASSENGER. 



The following appears in the Independent, an American newspaper : 
'While travelling not long ago in one of the south-western 
counties of Virginia, the following thrilling incident took place. 
Starting in the stage-coach soon after breakfast, the morning being 
a delightful one in the latter part of the month of May, I took my 
seat on the box by the side of the driver ; and behind me, on the top, 
was seated a bright, intelligent-looking mulatto boy, apparently of 
eighteen or nineteen years of age. After being on the road a few 
minutes, I turned about and asked him where he was going. He 

replied, he was going down a few miles to live with Master , 

who kept the stage-house at the west stand ; that he had lived with 
him the last summer, and that his master had sent him down to live 
with him the coming season. Turning from the boy, the driver 
remarked to me, in an under-tone : " The boy is deceived ; I am 
taking him down to the slave-pen, a few miles on, where slaves are 
kept preparatory to being sent to Louisiana : this deception is 
practised to get him from his home and mother without creating a 
disturbance on the place." Shortly after, as we drew near to the 
place where the boy supposed he was to stop, he began to gather up, 
preparatory to leaving the stage, the few articles he had brought 
away from his home. The driver said to him, in a decided tone of 
voice : " You are not to get off the stage here." 

'The boy, in astonishment, replied: "Yes, I is; I'se got a letter 

for Master . I'se going to live there this summer." 

' By this time we had reached the house, and Master making 



186 AMERICAN SLAVERY AND COLOUR. 

his appearance, Johu — for that was the name of the boy — delivered 

his letter, and appealed to Master to be relieved from the 

command of the driver. The master made no reply, as this kind 
of deception was no new thing to him. After reading the letter and 
folding it up, he was about putting it into his pocket, when it flashed 
on the mind of the boy that he was sold, and was bound for the 
slave-pen. 

' He exclaimed in agony: "Tell me, master, if I'se sold?" 

' No reply was made. 

' He exclaimed again : " Tell me, master, if I'se sold ? " 

' This last appeal brought the response : " Yes, John, you are sold." 

'The boy threw himself back on the top of the stage, and, rolling 
in agony, sent up such a wail of wo as no one in the stage could 
endure: even the hotel-keeper walked away in shame, and the 
driver hurried into his box, and drove off in haste to drown the 
noise of his cry. The passengers were all deeply moved at the 
distress of the boy, and tried in various ways to soothe his 
wounded and crushed spirit, but his agony was beyond the 
reach of their sympathy. When his agony had somewhat abated, 
he exclaimed : " Oh, if they had only let me bid my mother 
good-bye ! They have lied to me ! They have lied to me ! 
If they had a' told me I was sold, and I could a' bid my mother 
good-bye, I'd a' gone without making them trouble, hard as it 
is ! " By this time we had passed on some two or three miles 
since leaving the last stand, when, drawing near to a pretty thick 
wood, the boy became tranquil. Waiting till we had entered the 
wood a few rods, he darted from the top of the stage, and ran into 
the woods as agile as a deer, no doubt with the feeling that it was 
for his life. The driver instantly dropped his reins, and pursued the 
boy. Proving himself no match, he returned, exclaiming : " You 
see I have done what I could to catch him." He mounted his box 
and drove on a mile or so, when he reined up his horses to a house, 
and, calling to the keeper, asked : " Where are your sons ? " 

' He replied, they left home that morning with the dogs, to hunt 
a negro, and would not be home before night. The driver said 

to him, that Mr had sent his boy John on the stage that 

morning, to be delivered at the pen, and that he had jumped from 
the top of the stage and taken to the woods. His reply was : " We 
will hunt him for you to-morrow." The driver said he wished 
only to notify him of his being in the woods. 

' As we drove on, I made inquiry : " How long have you driven a 
stage on this road ? " 

' He replied : " About fifteen years." 

" Do you frequently take down negroes to this slave-pen ? " 

" Yes, frequently." 

" What will become of this boy John ? " 

' He replied : " He will skulk about the woods until he is nearly 
starved, and will some night make his way up to his master's house, 
and in about two weeks I shall bring him down again to the slave- 
pen in handcuffs." After a pause, even this driver, feeling his 
degradation in being the instrument of such misery, broke out in 
the exclamation : " This is a cursed business ; but in this case this 
is not the worst feature in it: the man who sold him is his own 
father I " ' 



APPENDIX. 197 



TUGITIVE SLAVE LAW. 



Since the passing of this law, a considerable number of seizures 
under its provisions have taken place in the northern states ; though 
in Massachusetts and some other states, from resolutions adopted on 
the subject, it will in future be scarcely possible to apply the law 
without producing a collision between federal and state authorities. 

One of the most noted cases of seizure was that of Anthony Burns, 
who was carried off from Boston in May 1854 ; a large military 
force being required to aid the federal officers on the occasion. 
Burns was afterwards purchased from his owner, and restored to 
liberty. Philadelphia has obtained an unfortunate distinction for 
the manner in which the law has been strained to secure fugitives. 
The harsh treatment of a gentleman in that city, Mr Passmore 
Williamson, who was imprisoned for some months on a frivolous 
charge connected with the case of an alleged fugitive woman and her 
family, will be in every one's recollection. 

The latest fugitive slave case coming under our notice is that 
of Thomas, a mulatto, seized at Philadelphia in January 1857. A 
letter from that city, in the Anti-slavery Standard, gives the following 
narrative : 

' Our city has been disgraced by another fugitive slave case. I 
had half hoped that we were to witness no more of these revolting 
spectacles ; but this was, of course, looking for too much. As 
long as we have fugitive slaves and a fugitive slave law — fugitive 
slave-officers and fugitive slave-courts — and on our borders, slave- 
breeders, slave-traders, and professional slave-catchers, we shall 
not be without liability to a recurrence of these outrages. The 
particulars of this last case you will find in the newspaper reports 
of the proceedings, several of which I herewith send you. The 
chief facts are these : 

' On Thursday last, a young mulatto man, of about twenty years 
of age, was arrested in this city as the property of a William 
H. Gatchell of Baltimore. The parties who apprehended him were 
Deputy Marshals Jenkins and Crossin — the same that were so 
disgracefully connected "with the outrage perpetrated on the fugitive 
Thomas, several years ago, at Wilkesbarre. They seized him on 
a warrant issued by David Paul Brown, jun., who, it appears, has 
been appointed, since the death of the infamous Ingraham, a United 
States commissioner. This David Paul Brown, jun., is a son of the 
lawyer of the same name, who, in times past, won for himself an 
honourable reputation as a champion of freedom, but whose char- 
acter, in this respect, it must be confessed, has of late days lost a 
good deal of its lustre. There are associations, however, still con- 
nected with the name which could not fail to give rise to astonish- 
ment, when the facts were announced that an alleged slave had been 
arrested under a warrant from David Paul Brown, jun., and that 
David Paul Brown, jun., was the commissioner who was to sit 
in judgment upon the case. "Who is this David Paul Brown, 
jun. ? " was a question that was in every one's mouth. " Is it true 
that he is a son of our old friend, David Paul Brown, the man w r ho 
used to scathe with such eloquent indignation all aiders and abettors 
in this infamous business ? " Of course, there was but one answer 



198 AMERICAN SLAVERY AND COLOUR. 

to be given to these interrogatories. Yon can well imagine the 
expressions of surprise and disgust with which that answer would be 
received. 

' The counsel for the slave-catcher was also a new man in this 
dirty business. Prom some of his antecedents, perhaps, there was 
nothing better to be expected ; but from his looks, almost any one 
would have supposed that he would have recoiled from an offer 
to engage his services for so base a purpose. His name is Daniel 
Dougherty ; he is an Irishman by birth, and a pseudo-democrat in 
politics. These two circumstances would naturally suggest the 
probability of his sympathies being on the side of the slaveholder ; 
but from his ingenuous countenance and upright and manly port, 
one could hardly fail to infer a heart that would spurn a fee from 
the hand of a low-lived slave-catcher. But Mr Dougherty did not 
seem to be troubled with any of the qualms of weak humanity. He 
conducted his case with the utmost sang froid, and laboured to send 
an innocent man to endless slavery, with less apparent emotion 
than many a humane person would exhibit in inflicting a slight 
punishment on a convicted criminal. 

' The counsel for the prisoner was William S. Peirce, Esq., an able 
lawyer and a conscientious man. For many years, Mr Peirce has 
been the most prompt and efficient lawyer we have had in 
Philadelphia in cases of this kind. He is always ready to act 
when called upon, and never fails to exert himself to the utmost 
for his client and for the cause involved. In this case, he even 
excelled himself, leaving no expedient untried which held out any 
hope of foiling the oppressor and rescuing the victim. He appealed 
to the humanity of the commissioner and to his respect for legal 
precedent ; he shewed a palpable informality in the preliminary 
proceedings, and urged the justifiableness and the duty of giving to 
the prisoner the benefit of the irregularities ; but his appeals and his 
proof of defective forms were alike unavailing. Mr Brown decided 
the case by declaring the man to be the property of his claimant, and 
issuing a warrant for his rendition. 

' Por his services in this act of mock-judicial outrage, Commissioner 
Brown will receive the price of blood — ten dollars — together with 
the thanks, doubtless, of the Judas who employed him. He will, 
also, on the other hand, have the execrations of the unhappy victim 
of his decision, and the contempt or pity of all good men who are 
or may be cognizant of the transaction. He may try to persuade 
himself that he has only been discharging a conscientious duty ; but 
he will not succeed. He knows that he voluntarily assumed the 
duties of his office ; and he knew, when he solicited and accepted his 
appointment, that one of its functions would be to sit in judgment 
on innocent men, wickedly put on trial for their liberty. If he may 
lay the flattering unction to his soul that he is but executing the 
law, and therefore without blame, so may Graham, the Baltimore 
slave-catcher, to whom he granted his warrant ; so may Alberti ; so 
may every professional slave-catcher and duly appointed hangman 
that snaps the " nippers " on his victim's wrists, or slips a noose on 
the platform of a gallows. 

' This base outrage was perpetrated in a manner and by instru- 
ments altogether becoming its character. Official insolence, and 
a disregard of decent usage, characterised its performance from 



APPENDIX. 199 

beginning to end. It was a sad spectacle; and that too, not so much 
from the mute despair of the wretched victim thus robbed of all that 
was dear to him, as from the mute indifference of the 400,000 people 
who make up the population of this great city. It is melancholy 
and depressing to observe how little sensation an atrocious incident 
of this kind excites in this great and loud-professing metropolis. 
We have churches and Quaker meeting-houses, and thousands upon 
thousands of religious professors of every variety of creed, but how 
few of them all feel any concern for the wrongs of the slave, or the 
cruel injustice of the oppressor. It is true that yesterday the Eev. 
Dr Furness made this case the subject of a touching sermon to his 
people, and Lucretia Mott preached upon it faithfully at the meeting 
which she attends ; and doubtless there were some others occupying 
similar positions who were not unmindful of their duty in this 
regard ; but the great mass of our ministers and their hearers, our 
editors and their readers, care for none of these things. The slave is 
manacled in our midst, and how few there are to lay it to heart ! ' 



UNDEKGROUND RAILEOAD. 

It need hardly be explained what is meant by this phrase. Over 
the extensive district of country from the borders of the slave states 
to Canada, there are places known to negroes where they will receive 
aid to help them on their way to the land of freedom. Unable to 
read, and exposed to great dangers, the fugitives generally avoid 
roads, and hold on their course according to certain landmarks by 
day, and the north star by night. Such is the Underground Rail- 
road. Exciting narratives descriptive of escapes are constantly 
appearing in northern newspapers. 

The following appears in the Syracuse Standard, a newspaper 
of the state of New York : 

' The Underground Railroad occasionally brings out rich things. 
Yesterday a beautiful mulatto woman from the Maryland shore, near 
Baltimore, called upon Mr Loguen. She was a fugitive from high- 
life in slavedom. Her dress, address, and conversation, shewed she 
had been valued and cared for. She naturally inquired into the 
quality and amount of business at the Syracuse Depot. Mrs Loguen 
took the record of the names of the fugitives that had called at her 
house, and commenced reading them. 

' " That is the name of my husband," she exclaimed with 
enthusiasm, when a certain name was read. 

' Mr and Mrs Loguen instantly called to mind an accomplished 
semi-coloured man they had sent on to Rev. Mr Mansfield & Co., at 
Auburn, three weeks ago. She told her story as follows : 

' She had been married about six weeks. Her husband and herself 
were house-slaves of two notable and wealthy families in Maryland, 
and were greatly attached. About three weeks since, her master 
suspected that she intended to escape with her husband, and arrested 
her, and put her in jail. She managed to notify her husband of her 
case, and he instantly fled to avoid a similar fate, and probable sale 
to the far South. Her mistress and daughter were greatly attached 
to her, and procured her release, and in three days thereafter she 
fled on foot to Philadelphia, with the aid of the man who helped her 



•200 AMERICAN SLAVERY AND COLOUR. 

husband off. Anti- slavery men put her on the road, and now for 
the second time she has got track of her husband. 

' Mr Loguen at once thought it his duty to go to Auburn with her, 
and help to find her husband. On arrival at Auburn, he placed her in 
the parlour of one of the best hotels, and called on Mr Mansfield, who 
went with him to another clergyman to whom he was directed. He 
was at meeting, and Mr Loguen saw a coloured man in a distant 
part of the meeting who resembled the fugitive, and sent a person to 
bring him to the lobby to see Mr Loguen. The poor man was seized 
with a tremor. The fact was, he was an excellent machinist, and 
instead of going to Canada, had hired out at good wages at Auburn 
rather, as instructed to do by Mr Loguen, if he found a chance. 

" They are after you, Fred," said Mr Loguen ; " but hold up your 
head — I '11 take you where you won't be hurt." 

" Who is after me ? " 

" Who but your master could be here after you ? But don't be 
scared. Follow me, and you will be safe." 

" Can you fight ? " 

" It depends on whom I am to fight." 

" Will you fight slaveholders if they have come to take you ? " 

" Yes — I would fight a regiment of them." 

1 By this time they arrived at the hotel, and Mr Loguen proceeded 
directly to the parlour, which was richly furnished and gas-lighted. 
The fellow's feelings were worked up to the highest point by being 
led to such a place, where he could expect to see no one but a slave- 
holder. On entering the room, he saw his beautiful wife alone. He 
was so overcome that he almost fell to the floor, exclaiming at the 
same time : " It is my wife ! " They rushed together, and a happier 
bride and bridegroom could not be found in the world — we '11 venture 
to say.' 

TAKE HIM, DEAD OR ALIVE. 

The New York Tribune, of February 24, 1857, has the following: 
' We find, in a North Carolina paper, the following advertisement, 

which presents a curious illustration of slaveholding law and 

slaveholding manners : 

" State op N. Carolina, Jones County. — Whereas complaint 
upon oath hath this day been made to us, Adonijah McDaniel and 
John N. Hyman, two of the Justices of the Peace of said county, 
by Franklin B. Harrison of said county, planter, that a certain 
male slave belonging to him, named Sam, hath absented himself 
from his master's services, and is lurking about said county, com- 
mitting acts of felony and other misdeeds. These are, therefore, in 
the name of the State, to command the said slave forthwith to 
surrender himself and return home to his master , and we do hereby 
require the Sheriff of said County of Jones to make diligent search 
and pursuit after the said slave, and him having found, to apprehend 
and secure, so that he may be conveyed to his said master, or other- 
wise discharged as the law directs ; and the said Sheriff is hereby 
authorised and empowered to raise and take with him such power 
of his county as he shall think fit for apprehending the said slave ; 
and we do hereby, by virtue of the Act of Assembly in such case 
provided, intimate and declare that if the said slave, named Sam, 



APPENDIX. 201 

dotli not surrender himself and return home immediately after the 
publication of these presents, that any person may kill and destroy the 
said slave, by such means as he or they may think Jit, without accusation 
or impeachment of any crime or offence for so doing, and without incurring 
any penalty and forfeiture thereby. 

" Given under our hands and seals the 29th day of September, 
a.d. 1856.— A. McDaniel, J. P. J. N. Hyman, J. P. 

" 100 Eeavard. 

" I will give Fifty Dollars for the apprehension and delivery of the 
said boy to me, or lodge him in any Jail in the State so that I get 
him, or One Hundred Dollars for his head. 

" Oct. 1st, '56. F. B. Harrison." 

1 Fifty dollars for the person of " the said boy " Sam, but one 
hundred dollars for his head, the killing of him, " without incurring 
any penalty or forfeiture thereby," being fully authorised in a legal 
document under the hands and seals of two justices of the peace ! 
Even if Sam reads the newspapers, and the above proclamation 
should come to his knowledge, no reasonable man would advise him 
to give himself up under it. It is not so much the danger, if he did 
so, of being whipped to death by the amiable Mr F. B. Harrison, 
who is evidently in a considerable state of excitement, as the 
certainty that in a community that tolerates the publication of such 
advertisements, there must be plenty of sportsmen who would jump 
at the chance of shooting a negro, to say nothing of the hundred 
dollars to be got by doing so; and as there is no time limited within 
which he is to deliver himself up, this right of killing, without 
incurring any penalty or forfeiture, must be considered as accruing 
from the very issue of the proclamation. However, there is no 
restriction on the way of doing the deed, the volunteer executioner, 
under this act, being allowed the choice of " any means " that may 
be thought fit.' 

NEGRO DOGS. 

The following is an exact copy of an advertisement from a negro- 
dog tracker, in the Lexington Democratic Advocate ; Lexington being 
in Missouri, near the borders of Kansas. The advertisement appeared 
during the Kansas troubles, in 1855 : 

' NEGRO DOGS. — I would inform the citizens of Holmes County 

that I still have my NEGRO DOGS, and that 

they are in good training, and ready to attend 

to all calls of hunting and catching RUN- 
AWAY NEGROES, at the following rates. For hunting per day, five 
dollars, or if I have to travel any distance, every day will be charged for, in 
going and returning, as for hunting, and at the same rates. Not less than 
five dollars will be charged in any case, where the Negroes come in before I 
reach the place. From fifteen to twenty-five dollars will be charged for 
catching, according to the trouble ; if the Negro has weapons, the charge will 
be made according to the difficulty had in taking him, or in case he kills some 
of the dogs, the charge will not be governed by the above rates. I am 
explicit to prevent any misunderstanding. The owner of the slave to pay 
all expenses in all cases. I venture to suggest to any person having a slave 




202 AMERICAN SLAVERY AND COLOUR. 

runaway, that the better plan is to send for the dogs forthwith when the 
negro goes off, if they intend sending at all, and let no other person go in 
the direction, if they know which way the runaway went ; as many persons 
having other negroes to hunt over the track, and failing of success, send for 
the dogs, and then perhaps fail in consequence to catch their negro, and 
thus causelessly fault the dogs. Terms cash. If the money is not paid 
at the time the negro hunted for is caught, he will be held bound for the 
money. I can be found at home at all times, five and a half miles east of 
Lexington, except when hunting with the dogs. John Long. 

Feb. 14, 1855.' 

SLAVE HEROISM. 

The following was communicated by a correspondent to the 
New York Tribune : 

'In November last [1855], while on a tour in the southern states, 
on account of my business connections in Vermont and Massa- 
chusetts, upon the plantation of Mr G. W , in Wayne County, 

Mississippi, a negro, for some trifling offence, as pretending sickness, 
was sentenced to twenty-five lashes, on the bare back, to be given 
at his plantation, in presence of his wife, and all the other slaves. 
He was tied, hand and foot, in a most painful manner, in a dark 
hole, called the "black hole," until the punishment was inflicted, 
which was done in the most inhuman manner. After an attempt, 
and only for appearance' sake, to cure his wounds, he was dismissed 
to the field, in a miserable condition. In about a week, he was 
strong enough to avail himself of an opportunity offered him to 
escape ; and, taking no clothing but what was absolutely necessary, 
he went to a large swamp in the vicinity ; and, in about two hours, 
he heard the horrid braying of blood-hounds, or, as they call them, 
"negro dogs." After most terrible agony for forty-eight hours, and 
the slightest possible chance of escape, he was left alone ; and then 
commenced his trials. In a state the most inhuman in the Union, 
with no friends to assist him, not even the necessaries of life, / met 
him. I gave him a suit of clothes, some money, and by dint of 
concealment in the daytime, and only travelling at night, he passed 
through Kentucky, and arrived in the land of freedom — that is, on 
the borders of Ohio — in January 1855. The weather was intensely 
cold, his feet horribly frosted, his clothes torn to shreds, but his 
heart uplifted by the hope of liberty. Meeting some kind, friends, 
as they always do in Cincinnati, he was working manfully in a 
secret place, to obtain money to go to Canada ; and h>y this time he 
is well on the way, or I would fear to expose his whereabouts. I 
have since heard from a friend of mine there, that his wife received 
ten lashes for aiding in his escape. He is determined to coin enough 
money to buy his faithful wife, and both to live in a free state, where 
slaveholders and blood-hounds are not the boast of the community.' 

SLAVE-WHIPPING IN MISSOURI. 

A gentleman travelling through the states west of the Mississippi, 
sent lately to a New York newspaper the following account of an 
incident which came under his notice, in Lexington, Missouri : 

' In the morning of the 21st February 1856/ he says, ' I was, for 



APPENDIX. 203 

tlie first time in my life, a spectator of the sale of slaves. Two 
young men and a girl, about eighteen years of age, were placed upon 
the block, surrounded by forty or fifty slaveholders. The first put 
up was a "nigger" of great beauty and fine form. The auctioneer 
commenced by exhorting the farmers to remember that the hemp 
was all down — hands were scarce— niggers had taken a rise; and 
told them that there stood one of the best-looking niggers in the 
state ; that he was a slave for life, and had no wife to trouble him 
— was sound — had good teeth and eyes ; in short, was an " excellent 
nigger ! " The bidding proceeded until 1250 dollars was reached, and 
the hammer fell upon the nigger, who was led away by the highest 
bidder. During the sale, the auctioneer and others indulged in 
witticisms and puns upon the boy, which set the crowd to laughing ; 
but the slave did not laugh. Not a smile nor a tear did I notice 
during the whole time. His expression was that of deep 
despondency. 

1 Being called away, I did not see the other two sold. Several 
others were sold in that place during the same week at Sheriff's 
sale. On the succeeding Friday, a scene was presented in that same 
court-house which almost beggars description. 

' Sheriff Withers, having a " nigger woman," who, on the previous 
day, had been neglectful of her taskwork, sent for a blacksmith to 
come and chastise her. He came, bolted the door, tied the woman's 
hands together, and lashed them over her head to the ceiling, and 
commenced whipping. The screams of the woman brought her 
husband to the rescue. He broke open the door, and with a butcher- 
knife in his hand, rushed forward to cut his wife loose. The slave 
and blacksmith encountered each other, and in the affray the latter 
got his arm cut. The slave finally surrendered, and was led away to 
the jail, while the woman received a double whipping. These are 
the facts in the case. 

' News of this " horrible outrage " was soon circulated, and the 
excitement became intense. At four o'clock, the mob, numbering 
two or three hundred, moved towards the court-house. The " boy " 
— a quadroon of about forty years of age — was brought into the 
building and placed within the bar. Colonel Reed was called to 
preside, and Colonel Walton explained the object of the meeting. 

' He said : " A great crime has been committed — an outrage upon 
one of our citizens by a nigger. We have come together, not to 
imbrue our hands in the blood of innocence ; but rebellion of slaves 
is becoming common. Something must be done to put a stop to it, 
to protect our wives, our children, and our sacred homes." 

' A member of the legislature earnestly remonstrated against mob- 
law, and recommended that a day be appointed to whip the boy, and 
have all the slaves of the county present. He was not heard through, 
for the speech did not suit the mob. A committee of twelve was 
appointed to decide immediately what punishment the boy should 
receive. That committee retired, but soon returned, with Colonel 
Reed at their head, who read the following announcement : 

' Your committee have decided that the boy shall receive one thousand 
lashes on his bare back, two hundred to be administered this evening (if 
he can bear it), and the remaining eight hundred from time to time, 
as in the judgment of the committee his physical nature can bear up 
under it. Also, we advise that a committee of three physicians be 



204 AMERICAN SLAVERY AND COLOUR. 

appointed to superintend the operation, and three citizens he chosen 
to whip him. Also, that the person whose arm was cut by the slave 
have the privilege of giving him the last two hundred lashes. 

1 The report was almost unanimously adopted ; the wretched slave 
was stripped of his clothing, and made to kneel down in front of 
Colonel Reed, while his hands, extending over the top of a bench, 
were tied to the floor. 

' Let the reader now imagine Colonel Reed upon the bench, cigar 
in mouth, three honoured physicians on the right, and three burly 
slaveholders (whips in hand) on the left of a poor slave who was 
kneeling before them, with his whole person bared to the chilling 
atmosphere, the thermometer marking zero. Outside the bar are 
two or three hundred border-ruffians, all eager for blood. Such 
was the scene presented in the court-house of Lexington, in the 
state of Missouri, on the last Friday of February 1856. 

'The whipping commenced. Colonel Reed sprang to his feet 
with curiosity; more than a hundred heads were peering in to 
get a sight of their miserable victim. But before a dozen lashes 
had been administered, the slave fell to the floor, bleeding and 
writhing in agony. The slaveholder struck the harder, and ordered 
him to get up. The physicians interfered, and felt his pulse, and 
declared that he could never stand such lashes. 

' Some one cried out : " 988 yet to come," and the whipping was 
resumed. Lash upon lash was inflicted, until one hundred had 
been given, when his whole back, from the top of his shoulders down 
to his very feet, was a mass of blood and mangled flesh. 

1 The whipping was continued without cessation, amid the most 
piteous and beseeching wails and cries, such as : " O gen'lemen, 

gen'lemen, have mercy ! " " O gen'lemen ! " " O Lord ! " " O 
Lord ! " until they became fainter, and died away upon the ear. 

'When they commenced giving him the second hundred, I left 
the room in anguish of spirit, exclaiming to myself: "Oh, that 

1 were a dog, that I might not call man my brother ! " 

' He was not permitted to rise until the two hundred were given. 
He was taken out the next day, but it was decided he was too sore 
to whip. On the third day, he was taken out and whipped again 
in the presence of a large crowd ; but when they had given him 
twenty, his strength completely failed him. 

' Whether the whole of the thousand lashes were administered, 
or whether he gave out before receiving the complete penalty, I have 
no means of knowing; but I do know that some of the leading 
slaveholders pledged themselves to each other to carry it through, 
despite the indignation of a portion of the community and of the 
entreaties of his master, although at first the master had given him 
up to the mob heartily, and was even willing they should hang him.' 



BRUTAL MURDER OF A SLAVE BY HIS OWNER. 

* Michael Boylan, a German, residing on Lover's Lane, near this 
city, was arrested yesterday by Sergeant Wilson and Privates 
Richardson and Waller, of the mounted police, on a charge of 
whipping his own slave, a man named Stepney, to death. The 
circumstances of this outrage, as we have learned them, are as 



APPENDIX. 205 

follows : It appears that the negro had been runaway for some time, 
and was taken on Tuesday last and carried to jail by Constable 
Jones. He was then whipped, and turned over to his master. 
Yesterday, Boylan, while under the influence of liquor, renewed the 
punishment, and continued it until the negro sank under the 
infliction, and died. When Sergeant Wilson arrived at the spot, 
the negro was lying on the ground lifeless, and Boylan by the side 
of him, completely stupified by liquor. The latter, together with 
his nephew, whose name we did not learn, were arrested and carried 
before Justice Russel, who committed them both to jail for further 
examination. Sergeant Wilson is of opinion that but for his 
prompt arrival on the spot, the negro would have been buried and 
the crime concealed, as the coflin was already prepared and a hole 
dug to receive it. We are shocked to record such a crime in our 
midst, and trust that the law will be rigidly enforced against the 
offender.' — Savannah newspaper. 



THE INSURRECTIONS IN TENNESSEE. 
From The Memphis Appeal. 

At a meeting of the citizens of Sumner County, held at the Court- 
house on Saturday, the 6th of December, 1856, Thomas C. Douglas, 
Wiley G. Douglas, and L. A. Edwards, were appointed chairmen, and 
Thomas T. T. Tabb, secretary. 

The object of the meeting having been explained in very pertinent 
and appropriate remarks by Messrs John W. Head and Houston 
Solomon, it was resolved that the chairmen appoint a committee of 
twelve to consider the developments of an insurrection elicited from 
some of the leaders thereof, and to draft resolutions by Monday, 
12 o'clock, when this meeting will meet again to receive or reject 
them, and to adopt some plan for the better security of the com- 
munity ; whereupon the chairmen appointed the following gentlemen 
the committee — namely, Albert Eranklin, William Parker, Dr James 
E. Blackmore, Dr Raymond Head, J. Seawell Carr, Joseph Walton, 
Robert Myers, John W. Head, M. S. Singleton, W. L. Baber, Dr J. 
M. Porter, and Leonidas Baker. 

The meeting then adjourned to Monday, 12 o'clock. 

Monday, Dec. 8. — The meeting having been called to order, the 
committee reported the following resolutions, which were unanimously 
adopted : 

1. Resolved, That we have the clearest evidence that there was a 
contemplated insurrection among a portion of the slaves of our 
county ; in this we all concur, and that the present investigation by 
which the plot has in part been unravelled and known to exist, be 
carefully prosecuted until the whole plan is fully developed, and that 
such an investigation be set on foot in the various civil districts of 
the county by the magistrates thereof. 

2. Resolved, That the various magistrates of the county hand over 
the leaders of the conspiracy to a jury of twelve slaveholders of this 
county, appointed by this meeting; which jury shall try said slaves, 
and deal with them as the interest of the community may require ; 
said jury to adopt such regulations in regard to the trial as they 
think proper. 



206 AMERICAN SLAVERY AND COLOUR. 

3. Resolved, That each civil district in the county meet and 
organise a sufficient patrol, or body of men, prepared for any emer- 
gency, whose duty it shall be to see that the negroes remain on their 
masters' premises at night and on the Sabbath, unless absent by 
written permission of the owner or hirer, designating the time they 
are to be absent, and the place they are to go to ; that said patrol 
also perform such other services as the safety and peace of the 
community may require, and this organisation be kept up for thirty 
days. 

4. Resolved, That in addition to the above regulations, each master 
patrol his own premises, see that his own slaves remain home at 
night and on the Sabbath ; and that other negroes do not congregate 
with his. 

5. Resolved, That no voluntary assemblage of negroes be permitted 
at night, or on the Sabbath, for any purpose, for twelve months to 
come. 

6. Resolved, That during the Christmas holidays no slave be per- 
mitted to leave his master's premises, unless on business of the 
master or owner, and with his written permission, specifying the 
time, place, and business. 

7. Resolved, That all citizens be vigilant in seeing that the 
laws relative to slaves, hiring their time, carrying arms, buying 
ardent spirits, assembling together, going off their masters' premises 
with white men and free persons of colour, talking to them in a 
manner calculated to excite discontent, trading with them, &c, be 
promptly executed. 

8. Resolved, That we recommend that the law be rigorously 
enforced against free negroes, when found guilty of a violation of it ; 
and that a vigilant watch be kept over their movements. Should 
any one or more of them in any community be a nuisance, then the 
community might take such steps in reference to them as it is 
regarded necessary for its peace and safety. No free persons of 
colour shall remove to and settle in this county. 

9. Resolved, That there are persons in our midst who are selling 
liquor to slaves, in violation of the law, and we recommend all such 
to cease their traffic, and if not, they will be required to leave the 
county, or the severest penalties will be inflicted upon them. 

On motion — Resolved, in addition, That no school be kept open for 
the education of negroes, whether free or slave. 

Resolved, That if any of the jury (of twelve appointed now), under 
the second resolution, should fail to act, that the president of the 
meeting supply their places by others, and that we endorse all such 
appointments made by him. 

Resolved, That the proceedings of the meeting be published in 
The Sumner Flag, Union and American, Nashville Banner, and The 
Gazette, and that a copy thereof be furnished to each magistrate in 
the county. 

Having appointed the jury of twelve, in conformity with the 
second resolution, the meeting adjourned. (Signed) Thomas C. 
Douglas, Wiley G. Douglas, L. A. Edwards. 



APPENDIX. 207 



PRICE OP SLAVES. 

The price of slaves, as has been said, has risen considerably during 
the past two or three years, and is still rising. In a letter from 
Lexington, Georgia, December 2, 1856, to the Augusta Chronicle, the 
writer says : 

* About 100,000 dollars' worth of property was sold here to-day — 
land and negroes. Some of the sales were ahead of anything we 
have ever heard. A negro girl, fifteen years old, sold for 1280 
dollars ; another girl, fourteen years old, sold for 1280 dollars ; 
another girl, fourteen years old, for 1305 dollars ; another girl, 
eighteen years old (in family way), for 1500 dollars ; a boy, eighteen 
years old, for 1290 dollars ; a fellow, twenty-two years old, for 1500 
dollars. These negroes belonged to the estate of John Wynn, 
deceased, and were sold on a credit of twelve months. There were 
fifty-seven of Wynn's negroes sold to-day, and brought 44,026 dollars. 
Of these, a great number (more than ordinary) were women and 
children ; and a few diseased and old sold low. It is also proper to 
state, that but few of these negroes were bought by the legatees, and 
not one of those of which we have mentioned specific prices. They 
were common negroes — field-hands. 

' But the most extraordinary sales were of three negroes belonging 
to the estate of Mrs Mary "Watson : Leah, a negro girl, sixteen years 
old, sold for 1525 dollars; Harriet, about twenty years old, and 
child in her arms, sold for 1840 dollars — term, twelve months. 
These prices appear incredible, but all who are disposed to doubt 
can be satisfied by referring to the Record of the Court of Ordinary 
of Oglethorpe County.' 

In an article recommending the South to unite in defending its 
institutions, the Charleston Mercury offers the following explanations 
respecting the rise in the price of negroes : 

1 Cheapness of labour is essential to the material progress of every 
people ; but this can only obtain with the abundance of supply. 
Now, slave-labour is, and ought to be, the cheapest kind of labour. 
It will only become otherwise, when foreign and hostile influences are 
made to bear against it. The abolition of the slave-trade, by cutting 
off" the supply, tends to this result. Slaves were never before so high 
in the South. They have, within the last few years, advanced 50 per 
cent, in price, and, in some instances, even more. To what is this 
attributable ? Is it to an increase in the value of their productions ? 
We think not. Taking the three great staples — cotton, rice, and 
sugar — as the standards, we can discover no such increase in the 
profits of their culture as would warrant this advance. Indeed, it 
may well be doubted, whether planting, throughout the South, 
during the last ten years, has been as profitable as for the same 
preceding period. It has certainly not been more so ; and the pur- 
chaser now of slaves, at six hundred dollars each, has no promise of 
better returns for their labour, than when he bought them at four 
hundred dollars. The slave can neither cultivate nor produce more 
now than formerly. Thus, so far as the planting interest is con- 
cerned, the anomaly is presented, of an advance in the market-value 
of the capital employed, without any corresponding increase in its 
profits. We must therefore seek elsewhere for the real cause of the 
present high price of slaves, 



208 AMERICAN SLAVERY AND COLOUR. 

' The influx of gold from California, in swelling the cost of almost 
every species of property, necessarily affected that of slaves. But 
there is a reason deeper and beyond this : it is the scarcity of, as 
compared with the multiplying demands for, labour ; demands, too, so 
imperative that they must be supplied at almost any cost. In the 
last few years, internal improvements in the South have been pro- 
secuted on a scale greater than ever before. With the consciousness 
of her resources, has come the determination to develop them.' 



THE NEGROES OF "WASHINGTON. 

'The coloured population voluntarily sustain several churches, 
schools, and mutual assistance and improvement societies, and there 
are evidently persons among them of no inconsiderable cultivation of 
mind. Among the police reports of the city newspapers, there was 
lately (April 1855) an account of the apprehension of twenty-four 
"genteel coloured men" — so they were described — who had been 
found by a watchman assembling privately in the evening, and been 
lodged in the watch-house. The object of their meeting appears to 
have been purely benevolent, and, when they were examined before 
a magistrate in the morning, no evidence was offered, nor does there 
seem to have been any suspicion that they had any criminal purpose. 
On searching their persons, there were found a Bible, a volume of 
Seneca's Morals; Life in Earnest; the printed constitution of a 
society, the object of which was said to be " to relieve the sick, and 
bury the dead;" and a subscription paper, to purchase the freedom of 
Eliza Howard, a young woman, whom her owner was willing to sell 
at 650 dollars. I can think of nothing that would speak higher for 
the character of a body of poor men, servants and labourers, than to 
find, by chance, in their pockets, just such things as these. And I 
cannot value that man as a countryman, who does not feel intense 
humiliation and indignation, when he learns that such men may not 
be allowed to meet privately together, with such laudable motives, in 
the capital city of the United States, without being subject to dis- 
graceful punishment. Washington is, at this time, governed by the 
Know Nothings ; and the magistrate, in disposing of the case, was 
probably actuated by a well-founded dread of secret conspiracies, 
inquisitions, and persecutions. One of the prisoners, a slave named 
Joseph Jones, he ordered to be flogged ; four others, called in the 
papers free men, and named John E. Bennett, Chester Taylor, 
George Lee, and Aquila Barton, were sent to the workhouse ; and 
the remainder, on paying costs of court and fines, amounting in the 
aggregate to one hundred and eleven dollars, were permitted to 
range loose again.' — Olmsted's Journey in the Seaboard Slave States. 



AN INCIDENT IN KANSAS. 

Among the many anecdotes now in circulation connected with 
affairs in Kansas, is the following, which we condense from the 
Herald of Freedom, a Kansas newspaper, January 10, 1857. 

For some time, a number of free negroes have been residing 
among the Cherokee Indians, following various occupations, and 
intermarrying with the Indian women. A young man, son of a 



APPENDIX. 209 

negro by one of these Indian wives, wandered lately into Kansas, 
where he procured employment as a groom at the stage-station on 
Stranger Creek. One day, while he was engaged at the door of the 
stable, two white men rode up to the place, and eyeing the young 
man, thought they might make a good booty — probably 1200 dollars 
— by carrying him off, and selling him. With this design, they 
entered into conversation with him ; they charged him with being a 
fugitive slave from Platte County, and ordered him immediately to 
come along with them. This charge the lad denied, and refused to go 
with them. Threats were now used ; and when a pistol was presented 
to intimidate him, he ran hurriedly to the house to find a gun with 
which to defend himself. As he went towards the house, one of the 
ruffians fired his revolver, and shot the poor young man in the left 
side. Fortunately, the bullet, from the position in which the assailant 
was standing, glanced outwardly, or it might have proved fatal. He 
reached the house, and getting a gun from it, chased one of the fellows 
till he disappeared down a ravine ; then, returning, he managed to 
intercept the other, who piteously begged for mercy, and finally 
gave up a five-inch Colt's revolver. Thus free from an infamous 
attempt on his liberty, he found it necessary to attend to his 
wounded side. He went to Lawrence, where his wound being 
attended to, he soon recovered. 

NEGROES AND MULATTOES KEEPING SLAVES. 

Mr Olmsted, in travelling through Texas, arrived one night at 
a house where he learns some curious particulars respecting free 
negroes and mulattoes. 

'At the house where we stopped — in which, by the way, we 
ate our supper by the light of pine-knots blazing in the chimney, 
with an apology for the absence of candles — we heard some conver- 
sation upon a negro of the neighbourhood, who had been sold to 
a free negro, and who refused to live with him, saying he wouldn't 
be a servant to a nigger. All agreed that he was right, although 
the man was well known to be kind to his negroes, and would 
always sell any of them who wished it. The slave had been sold 
because he wouldn't mind. " If I had a negro that wouldn't mind," 
said the woman of the house, " I 'd break his head, or I 'd sell him. 
I wouldn't have one about me." Her own servant was standing 
behind her. " I do think it would be better if there wasn't any 
niggers in the world, they do behave so bad, some of 'em. They steal 
just like hogs." 

' We inquired about the free negroes of whom they were speaking, 
and were told that there were a number in the county, all mulattoes, 
who had come from Louisiana. Some of them owned many negroes, 
and large stocks. There were some white people, good-for-nothing 
people, that married in with them, but they couldn't live in Texas 
after it ; all went over into Louisiana. They knew of no law 
excluding free negroes from the state ; if there were any such law, no 
one here cared for it. 

4 This county has been lately the scene of events, which prove that 
it must have contained a much larger number of free negroes and 
persons of mixed blood than we were informed on the spot, in 
spite of the very severe statute forbidding their introduction, which 

N 



210 AMERICAN SLAVERY AND COLOUR. 

* 

has been backed by additional legislative penalties in 1856. Banded 
together, they have been able to resist the power, not only of the 
legal authorities, but of a local " Vigilance Committee," which gave 
them a certain number of hours to leave the state, and a guerrilla of 
skirmishes and murders has been carried on for many months, upon 
the banks of the Sabine, with the revival of the old names of 
" Moderators and Regulators," of the early Texans. 

' The feud appears to have commenced with the condemnation, by 
a justice of the peace, of a free mulatto, named Samuel Ashworth, 
to receive twenty-five lashes, on a charge of malicious killing of his 
neighbour's hogs, and of impertinent talking. The Ashworths were 
a rich mulatto family, settled in Texas in the earliest days of the 
republic, and exempted by special mention from the operation of 
the law forbidding residence to free negroes. They are now three 
and four generations removed from black blood, and have had a 
reputation for great hospitality, keeping open house for all who call. 
The member of the family who was condemned to the indignity of 
being publicly whipped, rose upon his guard while in the hands of 
the sheriff, and escaped. In a few days after, he returned with a 
mulatto companion, and shot the man on whose testimony he was 
condemned. Upon this the Vigilance Committee was organised, and 
the sheriff, who was suspected of connivance at the escape of 
Ashworth, and all the Ashworth family with their relatives and 
supporters, summoned to leave the county on pain of death. On the 
other hand, all free men of colour on the border, to the number of 
one hundred and fifty, or more, joined with a few whites and 
Spaniards, formed an organised band, and defied the committee ; and 
then ensued a series of assassinations, burnings of houses and saw- 
mills, and open fights. The Moderators, or committee-men, became 
strong enough to range the county, and demand that every man, 
capable of bearing arms, should join them, or quit the county on 
pain of death. This increased the resistance and the bloody 
retaliation, and, at the last accounts, they were laying regular siege 
to the house of a family who had refused to join them. Thirty 
families had been compelled to leave the county, and murders were 
still occurring every week. Among those killed were two strangers, 
travelling through the county; also the deputy-sheriff, and the 
sheriff himself, who was found concealed under the floor of a lonely 
house, with a quantity of machinery for the issue of false money, 
and instantly shot ; the proprietor of the house, defending himself, 
revolver in hand, fell pierced with many balls. The aid of the 
military power of the state had been invoked by the legal authorities ; 
but the issue I have not seen in the newspapers.' 

We take this opportunity of recommending for perusal the two 
excellent works of Mr Olmsted — Journey in the Seaboard Slave States, 
and A Journey through, Texas. (London : Sampson Low ; New York : 
Dix and Edwards.) 

VOTING AT ELECTIONS. 

On this subject, an article appears in Putnam's Monthly (a New 
York magazine), for November 1856. The writer, in lamenting 
that respectable persons should systematically refuse to take part 
in elections, makes the following observations : 

' The whole white male population of the United States, for 



APPENDIX. 211 

* 

instance, over twenty-one years of age, and, to be presumed, entitled 
to vote, is about 5,100,000 ; and yet the votes cast at a presidential 
election seldom exceed 3,100,000 ; leaving two millions of inhabitants 
who do not use their franchise. In the state of New York, in 1852, the 
voting population exceeded 800,000, yet the votes returned did not 
exceed 500,000. In Massachusetts, where there are more people, 
comparatively, capable of forming an opinion than in any other state 
in the Union, the white males, over twenty-one, are nearly 300,000 ; 
and yet the vote, in 1852, was only 133,000; shewing that nearly 
two-thirds of the adult population, for some cause or other, had 
stayed away from the polls. And the proportion is nearly as great 
in several other states. Some of these delinquents are, of course, 
kept away by illness, others by engagements abroad, but the majority, 
we have no doubt, by their own voluntary indifference and neglect.' 
The writer adds: 'The effect is, that the polls are controlled by 
interested or inferior persons, who get themselves or their fellows 
into important trusts, and shape the laws, and the administration of 
the laws, to suit their own debased purposes. They increase the 
taxes, they dispense jobs, they peculate in the public funds, they 
degrade the entire business and character of office, and arrange 
elections so as to secure a kind of hereditary tenure for themselves 
and their friends. But, suddenly, by some tremendous malfeasance, 
the community is aroused, and it looks with extreme surprise upon 
the enormity to which abuses have been carried. Why, however, 
should it be surprised ? Was anything else to be expected ? If the 
best men of society — well-informed and upright men — withdraw 
from a participation in public affairs, leaving them to any and all 
sorts of cliques, or to professional jobbers, who manage primary 
meetings and conventions, have they any one to blame but them- 
selves? If the clergyman and the scholar, if the lawyer and the 
merchant, if the peaceable mechanic and the honest labourer, refuse 
to take an active part in nominating and choosing good representa- 
tives, they cannot complain that the rowdy and the ballot-stuffer 
take advantage of their remissness.' 

It might have been added that the principal reason why respect- 
able persons absent themselves from elections in some of the large 
cities, is the dread of suffering personal outrage; and on this 
account, they, surely, have good cause for complaint that the 
'rowdies and ballot-stuffers ' are not promptly dealt with by the 
authorities. In consequence of the outrages at the polls at the last 
elections in New York, the recorder of that city thus addressed 
the grand jury on the subject (Nov. 1856) : 

' Within the present week, our city has been the scene of outrages 
at the polls which are humiliating to us as citizens, and disgraceful 
to those having the power to check them. In the first ward of this 
city, and almost within hearing of the office of the mayor and chief 
of police, from the opening to the closing of the polls, there was one 
constant scene of riot and bloodshed. Respectable citizens, who went 
peaceably to the polls to deposit their votes, were knocked down and 
dragged through the streets without any interference on the part 
of the police to prevent the outrages. Hundreds were driven from 
the polls by an organised band of desperadoes, who openly refused to 
allow the electors to deposit a vote, unless it contained the name of a 
certain candidate. 



212 AMERICAN SLAVERY AND COLOUR. 

' I have made these remarks that you may the better appreciate 
the necessity of prompt action on your part in certain cases which 
will be presented for your consideration. I will here add, that a 
large number of the police force was withdrawn from the first ward 
by order of the mayor of our city, and that a large number of the 
police force was on furlough on the day of election, and were 
engaged in advancing the interests of certain candidates, instead 
of being engaged in keeping the peace at the polls.' 



VOTING IN SLAVE STATES. 

Some strange disclosures occasionally take place respecting the 
system of voting at elections in the slave states. A person named 
Underwood was lately under the necessity of advertising his property 
for sale, and quitting Virginia, in consequence of displeasing the 
popular opinion. The case of T. Stannard, as told by himself in a 
letter to the Neichavcn Palladium, Nov. 18, 1856, is worth narrating. 

' I formerly resided at Fair Haven, where my family are now, and 
ever have been ; but having myself been engaged for several years 
past in the commission business in Norfolk [Virginia], and having 
paid taxes there, and to the best of my abilities discharged my 
duties as a citizen of that place, I have considered it my residence — 
and in the spring of 1855, I offered to vote at their election, when, 
upon a full statement of my case to the proper authority, and with 
their knowledge that my family were here, it was decided that I was 
entitled to vote there, and I did so. 

1 1 have never in any way meddled with the subject of slavery — 
having no inclination, nor, as I believed, any right to do so — conse- 
quently there has been no ill-feeling towards me on that account. 

' Before the election, many political meetings were held in Norfolk, 
but I did not attend any of them, nor did I converse with any one 
on the subject, except on one occasion, in answer to an inquiry made 
by a friend, and then for a moment only. But although neither an 
abolitionist nor a politician, I examined the subject as a question of 
duty, for me as well as for every citizen of the United States, and I 
made up my mind that the election of Fremont would be best for all 
sections of the country, and determined to vote for him — not dream- 
ing that, under our republican government, and in the democratic 
state of Virginia, any one would question my right to do so. 

' On the day of election, I heard one gentleman ask another at the 
post-office who he should vote for, and he replied : " For John C. 
Fremont " — and the other said he should do so too. They may not 
have been in earnest, but I then supposed they were, and I had no 
reason to doubt that others would vote the same way ; and in the 
afternoon I wrote a vote for Fremont and Dayton, and went to the 
place of voting. My right to vote was again examined, and on a 
statement of my case it was admitted, and I then, as the rules 
require, wrote my name on the back of my vote, and handed it to 
the inspector, who, as is customary, read aloud my first name, and 
then the names of my candidates. As soon as he declared that I 
voted for John C. Fremont, a large number of voices from the 
crowd shouted: "Hang him — hang him;" and the inspector handed 
me my vote, and said : " There is no such ticket voted here : we can- 
not receive this." I replied : " Very well," and took my vote again. 



APPENDIX. 213 

Some threats, which in the confusion that took place I did not 
distinctly understand, were made by those standing near me ; 
and the presiding officer exclaimed : " Don't touch this man ; " and 
then said to two persons who were, I presume, policemen : " Take 
him away from the polls." 

' The officers seized hold of me, and hurried me through the crowd, 
and then left me ; and I proceeded through a violent storm of wind 
and rain to my boarding-house, and from thence to my store. I 
afterwards returned to the house ; and when at the supper-table, I 
heard persons speak of the vote which had been offered at the polls 
for Fremont, those who spoke of it not knowing by whom the vote 
was offered, and therefore speaking freely of it in my presence. 
From what I saw and heard at the polls, and what was said at the 
table, I was apprehensive that I had misunderstood my right as an 
American citizen, and that I had, though unconsciously, so offended 
public sentiment by my vote, as to be in danger of popular violence, 
and I therefore went from the table to my room, and locked the 
door. 

' Soon after, I heard some one inquire for me ; and the landlady 
sent a servant to my door to say that a gentleman wished to see 
me. On learning that he was alone, I invited him to my room ; and 
he said that he came by request of another person — whom he named 
— to ask me if I had offered to vote for Fremont. I replied : " Yes." 
He then inquired : " What was your motive ? " And I told him that 
I conscientiously believed it my duty to do so. He then said : " I 
am requested to advise you not to appear in the street to-night ; " . 
and I replied that I should not go out of the house. He retired, 

but soon after returned, and said : " Mr F wishes to see you at 

the door." I told him that I should not leave my room that night, 

but if Mr F wished to see me, he might come to my room. He 

then left me, and another person came to my door, and informed me 

that Mr F was not at the front door, but that several men, 

whom he named, were there ; and I knew those men to be some of 
the most desperate characters in Norfolk. 

' This was in the evening ; and by the city lamps I could see from 
my window a collection of persons in the street, whose number 
increased till late in the night ; and I heard their threats of violence 
to my person and destruction to my property. Towards morning, a 
fire occurred, and an engine passed near by, which drew after it a 
portion of those around the house, and attracted for a time the 
attention of others ; and I took the opportunity to leave the house 
unobserved, and went to a place of concealment. While in my 
hiding-place, some friends took pains to ascertain whether it was 
prudent for me to appear again in public, and they found such a 
state of excitement and exasperation existing in consequence of my 
vote, that my life would be in danger if I was discovered. They 
also found that the customary routes of travel to the North were 
closely watched, although many believed that I had already left the 
city. 

' Early on the morning of the second day after my unfortunate 
vote, I escaped from the city by an unusual route, and in disguise, 
and made my way to my family ; and I hope now, that when the 
excitement has passed, I may safely return to Norfolk, at least to 
remain till I can settle up my affairs in that place.' 



214 AMERICAN SLAVERY AND COLOUR. 



A MICHIGAN MAN DRIVEN FROM GEORGIA. 

In the Detroit Advertiser, the following letter appears, from a 
correspondent in Vermontville, Michigan : 

' Under date of August 19, 1856, Mr Moses C. Church, formerly a 
resident of this place, where his parents now live, but then being in 
the employ of his uncle, Harvey Hall, in Columbus, Georgia, wrote 
a letter to his father, which contained the following paragraph : 

" Politics just now are all the go here — in fact, I never saw a 
community so wholly given up to it in my life. We have only two 
tickets — Fillmore and Buchanan, though, if there was a little more 
courage, and a little more concert of action, it would not be hard to 
get up a Fremont ticket ; and though there would be no chance of 
his carrying the state, he would get more votes than many suppose. 

" Another four years will see great changes throughout the 
entire South. All this talk about dissolving the Union, if Fremont 
is elected, is nothing but so much gas. The working, non-slavehold- 
ing mechanics, and others who are dependent upon their daily labour 
for their support, feel sorely the competition of non-paid labour ; and 
they do not hesitate to say they would vote for Fremont if they had 
a chance. As voters, they are three to one of the slaveholders, and 
they are fast finding out their strength. Thinking, sober men here 
acknowledge that they already see the beginning of the end ; and 
one remarked to me only last week that, in his opinion, ten years 
from that day would not see a slave in America. So strong is his 
belief, that he has disposed of all his property of that kind, and does 
not intend to own any more. It is a current remark here among 
the working-classes, that for the future those who own slaves, and 
have the benefit of them, may do their own watching — they will 
not. I claim to know what I say, as we employ a good many hands, 
and I know what they say." 

' This paragraph was published in the Eaton County Republican, 
and some person, actuated either by a mean, low-lived spirit of 
mischief, or a deep-seated, infernal malignity, enclosed a half-sheet 
of the paper in an envelope, and forwarded it to Mr Harvey Hall. 
On receiving it, Mr Hall repaired, in hot haste, and full of fiery 
indignation, to the boarding-place of liis nephew, to pour out the 
phial of red-hot wrath upon his head. Mr Church unhesitatingly 
informed his uncle that he wrote the paragraph, and that it contained 
his honest convictions, though he did not in the least seek to promul- 
gate them at the South. Mr Hall then told him that if these were 
his sentiments, he could not entertain them at the South ; and he 
felt it to be his duty to rid the community of his presence. He 
also threatened him with personal violence unless he speedily left 
the country. This was on Saturday. Mr Hall added further, that 
he must leave the first part of the next week ; and if he concluded 
to do so, he need have no apprehension of personal violence, as he 
(Hall) was the only one that knew of the letter, and no measures 
would be taken to forcibly expel him until he should report in the 
matter. There were two other members of the firm which employed 
Mr Church. On consulting with them, though they wished his 
services, yet they told him he had better leave, for his uncle would 
surely carry his threat into execution if he did not, and the result 



APPENDIX. 215 

would be riot and bloodshed. Mr Church saw that if he undertook 
to remain, his life would be endangered, and his wife and young 
child left to the tender mercies of a Georgia mob, and all heathen- 
dom, except Missouri, could not have furnished one more blood- 
thirsty, reckless, and unprincipled. Wisely, then, he concluded to 
leave ; and, arranging his business as best he could, though at a 
sacrifice of four or five hundred dollars, did so on the next 
Wednesday. 

' Mr Hall is a native of Vermont. He emigrated to Georgia. 
There he acquired wealth and slaves, and has become what he is. 
At his solicitation, Ms nephew left a lucrative situation in New 
York city to enter his employ ; and for writing the above paragraph 
to his father, he is threatened with " personal violence " at the 
hands of the slave-driving interest of one of the cities of one of our 
confederate republics, unless he speedily leaves.' 



DISUNION CONVENTION. 

At a Disunion Convention held at Worcester, Massachusetts, 
January 15, 1857, the following Resolutions were submitted: 

Resolved, That the meeting of the State Disunion Convention, 
attended by men of various parties and affinities, gives occasion for a 
new statement of principles, and a new platform of action. 

Resolved, That the cardinal American principle is now, as always, 
liberty ; while the prominent fact is now, as always, slavery. 

Resolved, That the conflict between the principle of liberty and this 
fact of slavery has been the whole history of the nation for fifty 
years ; while the only result of this conflict has thus far been to 
strengthen both parties, and prepare the way for a yet more desperate 
struggle. 

Resolved, That in this emergency we can expect little or nothing 
from the South itself, because it is, too, sinking deeper into barbarism 
every year : nor from a Supreme Court, which is always ready to 
invent new securities for slaveholders : nor from a President elected 
almost solely by Southern voters : nor from a Senate which is per- 
manently controlled by the slave-power : nor from a new House of 
Representatives, which, in spite of our agitation, will be more pro- 
slavery than the present one, though the present one has at length 
granted all which slavery asked : nor from political action as now 
conducted ; for the Republican leaders and presses freely admitted, in 
public and private, that the election of Fremont was, politically 
speaking, ' the last hope of freedom ; ' and even could the North cast 
a united vote in 1860, the South has before it four years of annexa- 
tion previous to that time. 

Resolved, That the fundamental difference between mere political 
agitation and the action we propose, is this : That the one requires 
the acquiescence of the slave-power, and the other only its 
opposition. 

Resolved, That the necessity for disunion is written in the whole 
existing character and condition of the two sections of the country 
— in their social organisation, education, habits, and laws — in the 
dangers of our white citizens in Kansas, and of our coloured ones in 
Boston — in the wounds of Charles Sumner, and the laurels of his 



216 AMERICAN SLAVERY AND COLOUR. 

assailant — and no government on earth was ever strong enough to 
hold together such opposing forces. 

Resolved, That this movement does not seek merely disunion, but 
the more perfect union of the free states by the expulsion of the 
slave states from the confederation, in which they have ever been an 
element of discord, danger, and disgrace. 

Resolved, That it is not probable that the ultimate severance of the 
Union will be an act of deliberation and discussion, but that a long 
period of deliberation and discussion must precede it, and this we 
meet to begin. 

Resolved, That henceforward, instead of regarding it as an objection 
to any system of policy, that it will lead to a separation of the states, 
we will proclaim that to be the highest of all recommendations, and 
tbte grateful proof of statesmanship ; and will support, politically 
or otherwise, such men and measures as appear to tend most to this 
result. 

Resolved, That by the repeated confession of northern and southern 
statesmen, ' the existence of the Union is the chief guarantee of 
slavery ;' and that the despots of the whole world have everything to 
fear, and the slaves of the whole world everything to hope, from its 
destruction, and the rise of a free northern republic. 

Resolved, That the sooner the separation takes place, the more 
peaceful it will be ; but that peace or war is a secondary considera- 
tion, in view of our present perils. Slavery must be conquered, 
1 peaceably if we can, forcibly if we must.' 

Among the more eloquent speakers at this Disunion Convention 
was Wendell Phillips, who took occasion to say, that, 'if high 
thought, high character, a noble party, a notile state, with noble 
impulses, be the test of government, this Union is a failure ; for the 
character of this nation has been so barbarised in fifty years, that we 
must hide our faces when we compare the Senate of to-day with 
that over which Aaron Burr presided.' This said in New England 
in 1857 ! 



THE END. 



Edinburgh : 
Printed by W. & R. Chambers. 



Just Published, 
PRICE 6s. BOUND IN CLOTH, 

Things as they Are in America. 

BY W. CHAMBERS. 

Second Edition. 

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